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Play to live, live to play during critical days of summer

Summer fun

Summer fun

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "Play to Live, Live to Play" is the theme for 2009's Critical Days of Summer which officially begins May 22 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 7.

"Sometimes our lives and the lives of others depend on the choices we make," said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command.

Due to increased activity levels during the summer months, the Air Force annually promotes the Critical Days campaign as an important reminder to continually practice safety habits in order to reduce the number of mishaps. By focusing on safety, accidents can be avoided.

"Historically, we lose more personnel to vehicle mishaps than any other type of activity. We must learn from our mistakes and those of others," General Kehler said.

During the past three AFSPC summer campaigns, there have been slight increases in total mishaps - 2006: 65 mishaps; 2007: 67 mishaps; and in 2008: 73 total mishaps: 27 on-duty; 46 off-duty (1 fatality).

In order to increase safety awareness, think about what, where and how an activity's going to be done. Prior to participating in recreational activities such as water sports, long-distance traveling or motorcycle riding, be aware of the challenges and limitations and practice risk management.

"Our folks must apply the simple rules of risk management and personal responsibility around the clock," said Col. Edward Rivera, AFSPC director of safety. "Risk management is simply identifying potential risks about to be taken. A former boss always told me to remember the three Ps: Plan, Predict and Prevent. If this concept is applied to all your summer activities; it may save your life. And most important stick to the plan! Interviews from past injuries are showing our folks are doing a great job of developing a plan but then not sticking to the plan," Colonel Rivera said.

It's important to support and promote the summer campaign through education, publicity and awareness programs, focusing on any specific targeted areas.

Supervisors are encouraged to hold face-to-face safety briefings and discuss risk management strategies with their Airmen before they go on leave or before long holiday weekends such as Memorial Day weekend.

Some of the things that should be considered for discussion include common mistakes Airmen make, but with a little fore thought could possibly prevent a mishap or fatality.

"Wear your seatbelt every time you get into a car. Wear the proper motorcycle protective equipment every time you ride. Don't drive after drinking or when you're fatigued...ever, and think seriously about safety," said General Kehler.

The Air Force Safety Center Critical Days of Summer Campaign Plan contains themes, listed below, for each week of the summer campaign to aid commanders or supervisors in planning safety topics during the summer :
· Week 1 - May 26 -June 2: Motorcycle/Sport Bike Safety
· Week 2 - June 3-9: Water Safety/Suicide prevention
· Week 3 - June 10-16: Motorcycle/Cruiser Bike Safety
· Week 4 - June 17-23: Alcohol Related Mishap Prevention
· Week 5 - June 24-30: Boating Safety
· Week 6 - July 1-6: 4th of July Holiday and Fireworks Safety
· Week 7 - July 7-13: Summer Heat Safety
· Week 8 - July 14-20: Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety
· Week 9 - July 21-27: Defensive Driving/4WPMV Safety
· Week 10 - July 28 - August 3: Grilling/Barbeque Safety
· Week 11 - August 4-10: Countering Fatigue
· Week 12 - August 11-17: Sports Risk Management
· Week 13 - August 18-24: Travel Safety
· Week 14 - August 25-31: Labor Day Safety
· Week 15 - September 1-7: Back to School Safety/Fall Campaign ramp up

So, before plans are made this summer, keep these points in mind:
· Risk management
· Be a good Wingman
· Make safety a habit

"Our safety campaign has proven effective in the past, but like the suicide prevention and Wingman programs - you are the key to its success. Be good Wingmen. Be vigilant and willing to act when you see someone taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting signs of distress," General Kehler said.