Commentary

May 25, 2012

This story is about you

by Brian Raphael
Kirtland AFB, N.M.

“Safety – It’s Personal” is the theme for this year’s Critical Days of Summer safety campaign, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

This year’s theme is a reminder that safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the decisions we make impact our friends, families and Air Force community.

That’s the message from Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, the Air Force chief of safety, announcing the 2012 Critical Days of Summer campaign.

Have you heard this before? Does this sound boring? Are you falling asleep? If you’re still reading, then it’s time to wake up. This is about you! Safety is not just another command message falling arbitrarily from the sky. It’s a command message you give to yourself! Now, will you follow that command? Many may not think you will. I do!

Summer is a time when people venture into the “great outdoors” and embark on more activities. Tragically, many of those people don’t bring their better judgments to the undertaking.

When it comes to safety, every person is ultimately in charge of and accountable for themselves, whether at work or play. At work, safety seems very basic. Off work though, well this is another story. Gotcha didn’t I? Put this to the test:

Do you spend more time putting on your uniform and making sure you’re ready for work on any given day than planning a night out with your buddies at the club or bar?

Do you put more thought into being sure you’re properly geared up for your assignment, accounted for all your ammunition and firearm, or have your Common Access Card compared to planning a BBQ or riding your motorcycle?

Not too long ago, I was tempted to ride my bike without any protective gear. I didn’t feel I needed it. Moreover, I felt it stifled my freedom riding with it. When I collided with a car and catapulted from my bike going 40 mph, my head was the first body part to contact the ground. Briefly said, I am alive today because my brother had insisted I put on a helmet.

What’s the point? Simply this – to put more care and thought into your activities so you can have fun, get done, and get home the way you left. And if you’re with friends, you take some responsibility for their safety. That’s what being a wingman is all about – looking out for each other.

I challenge you to enjoy the summer – work hard, play hard, have fun and look out for yourself and others. You can’t save every “Darwin Award” winner, but if you hear your friend say, “Hold my beer, watch this …,” please don’t!




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