Health & Safety

August 31, 2012

Critical days near end, safety still important

The critical days of summer may be ending, but safety should still be considered and Airmen should continue to be safety smart.

During the critical days of summer campaign the Air Force focused on ways Airmen can stay safe during a time of statistically high safety incidents. The campaign included 15 weeks of safety messages to the base community.

“Why the need for a summer safety campaign?” asked the Air Force Safety center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., in a statement recently released. “Since fiscal 2002 the Air Force has experienced 237 fatalities during the Critical Days of Summer.”

Because of the increase in incidents in the time frame between Memorial Day and Labor Day the AF Safety Center designated those 15 weeks of the year as critical.

“This year the time period for the ‘Critical Days of Summer’ is May 25 through Sept. 4,” the AF Safety Center said. “Our vision this year was to ensure all our Airmen had zero preventable fatal mishaps and an injury-free summer.”

The 15 weeks of messages included reminding Airmen to make smart choices, think before drinking, be safe in personal vehicles to include boats, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles and being safe outdoors while playing, working or vacationing.

At Luke where the summer seems to last much longer than the campaign weeks, safety takes a more critical role. The summer heat and sun make summer safety more important here.

“Just before the critical days kicked off we had back-to-back fatalities,” said Ben Bruce, 56th Fighter Wing Ground Safety manager. “But we did well during the last 15 weeks and have had no fatalities. We also had a 20 percent reduction in the accident rate.”

But, it was not all good news for the 56th FW during the critical days of summer.

“Unfortunately we saw a rise in DUIs during the critical days,” Bruce said. “Last year we had 34 and we already had 31 by early August this year.”

Safety is part of keeping Luke’s mission going, and it’s the responsibility of everyone to remember to be safe, he said.

“Safety is like a good movie,” Bruce said. “There’s a plot, stunning visuals and a good story. That’s Luke doing its mission. Safety would be the background music, always there but subtle and necessary. With the critical days we hit a crescendo, but we aren’t going away.”

The critical days of summer may be ending, but safety will remain.

“We need to develop a culture of safety,” Bruce said. “We shouldn’t be safe to please others like the ‘Safety Dude’, or your boss. You should be safe because you want to be. To do your job we want you to have all 10 fingers and toes that you came to work with, and we want you to return to your families.”




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