D-M Airmen face unique threats during Critical Days

(U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Sarah Ruckreigle)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., — The Air Force designated May 25 through Sept. 4 of every year as the Critical Days of Summer.

The Air Force-wide campaign dedicated to ensuring Airmen have an injury-free summer has run annually since the early 1980s, and was developed to counter the traditional increase in Air Force mishaps and fatalities that occur during the summer months.

This is the time of the year when the number of mishaps rises considerably because people are partaking in more outdoor activities. Personnel on-duty tend to be in a hurry to get off work to enjoy activities.

Campaign efforts attempt to increase personal awareness of risk, and thereby reduce the number of summer mishaps and fatalities. Traditional efforts include: messages by senior leadership; mass briefings by commanders; weekly supervisory briefings; pre-trip, travel and departure briefings and so forth.

Each installation targets its efforts based upon its local hazards and needs.

“The main thing to be weary of in Arizona is the extreme temperature during the day, and even at night,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Armstrong, 355th Fighter Wing ground safety technician. “It is still possible to get heat exhaustion at night here.”

D-M is also one of the few bases that have to worry about monsoon season, which happens to take place during the Critical Days of Summer. During the last five years from June to September, Tucson has received an average of 5.69 inches of rain due to monsoons.

One of the most dangerous hazards is impaired driving. It is common during summer because of cook-outs, get-togethers and other events where people tend to drink alcoholic beverages.

Another thing to look out for on the road is other drivers, motorcycle riders and four-wheelers.

The 355th FW Ground Safety office wants Airmen to always be prepared for possible mishaps. If taking a road-trip, prepare for it by placing a vehicle safety kit in the car and pack extra bottles of water in case of being stranded.

While driving mishaps are severe, they are not the only focus of the summer safety campaign.

The summer months are when service members tend to travel, vacation or partake in other activities that inherently come with a higher risk for danger.

“A lot of people forget about being safe and planning ahead to avoid incidents,” Armstrong said. “Safety is 24/7.”