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Air Force wraps up critical days of summer

KIRTLAND AFB, N.M. -- The Air Force concluded its Critical Days of Summer campaign Sept. 6, and the results reflect the need to be mindful of the risks associated with activities and look out for one another officials said.

During the 15-week campaign, the Air Force experienced 18 fatalities -- all of them in off-duty mishaps.

"This is a disturbing because most of these mishaps and fatalities were preventable," said Maj. Gen. Greg Feest, the Air Force chief of safety and Air Force Safety Center commander. "Our goal has always been zero mishaps and fatalities."

"Every loss touches the lives of family and friends and impacts our Air Force," Feest said. "It's tough on everyone."

Seven fatalities during this CDS campaign involved Airmen on motorcycles. Six others involved Airmen in four-wheeled private motor vehicles. So far in fiscal 2011, the Air Force has lost 43 Airmen in off-duty mishaps, including 29 in motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, 86 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involved some kind of reckless behavior.

"Reckless behavior is dangerous," said Roberto Guerrero, the Air Force deputy chief of safety. "Whether you're driving in a car or riding a motorcycle, excessive speed; not wearing personal protective equipment, such as a seatbelt or helmet; alcohol use and distracted driving can kill you and those around you."

Other fatalities during CDS involved sports and recreational activities, including all-terrain vehicles, kayaking and swimming.

"Regardless of the activity, I ask leaders, supervisors and co-workers to look out for one another throughout the year," Feest said. "Even one fatality is one too many. Use good risk management and encourage others to do the same."