FORT RUCKER, Ala. — The U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center officially launched the Army Safe Winter campaign Monday, providing leaders, Soldiers and safety professionals valuable information to augment their seasonal safety programs.
The campaign is the second of four installments of the “Know the Signs” safety effort.
While fatal accidents usually dip during the winter months, it’s no time to be complacent about safety.
“As an Army, we’re doing extremely well regarding accidental losses,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. “Fiscal [year] 2012 was our best year in more than a decade, and this year we’ve seen further decreases in fatal accidents.
“The last thing we want to have happen is Soldiers use that good news as a reason to drop their guard.”
Private motor vehicle accidents remain the number 1 killer of Soldiers. Inclement weather during winter can heighten risk while driving, whether on two wheels or four.
“Believe it or not, more Soldiers were killed on motorcycles during January and February this year than sedans and other conventional vehicles,” Edens said. “Leaders have to know what their Soldiers are doing and stay engaged on the hazards they may face, even if it seems counter intuitive to the time of year.”
The Army Safe Winter campaign includes informative articles and posters that heighten awareness of cold weather hazards. Media products from previous campaigns have become staple items in unit safety toolboxes.
“These campaigns have become the focal point for seasonal safety programs,” Edens said. “That’s a good thing, because it continually challenges us to think of new and creative ways to relay the information. However, leaders shouldn’t use it as a crutch. Safety is a lot more than briefings and bulletin boards. It’s about the safety culture within the organization, and it begins with leader engagement at the lowest level.”