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Summer safety campaign begins, shows positive trend

Statistics predict between 15 and 20 Airmen could die this summer while participating in off-duty activities.  One key to prevent that from happening is to use Personal Risk Management, a concept that makes you stop before you do something and think about what you're going to do before you do it.  (Graphic Illustration by Senior Airman Stephen Cadette; information provided by Air Force Safety Center)

Statistics predict between 15 and 20 Airmen could die this summer while participating in off-duty activities. One key to prevent that from happening is to use Personal Risk Management, a concept that makes you stop before you do something and think about what you're going to do before you do it. (Graphic Illustration by Senior Airman Stephen Cadette; information provided by Air Force Safety Center)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Every summer, off-duty activites and recreation result in the death of more Airmen than roadside bombs, more than enemy fire, more than anything to do with the job.

To counter the traditional increase in Air Force mishaps and fatalities that occur during the summer months, the Air Force has run the 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign since the early 1980s, and it's having a positive effect. 

The numbers are decreasing despite rising numbers of people participating in high-risk activities. Over the past three years, the number of deaths during the 101 CDS has dropped 56 percent, from 32 in 2004 to 18 in 2006, according to Air Force Safety Center officials.

During the 2006 campaign, the Air Force reported 18 fatalities compared to 27 in 2005, 32 in 2004 and 37 in 2003, according to the Air Force Safety Center. Major contributing factors were speeding, not using seatbelts or helmets and alcohol usage; although only two fatalities in fiscal 2005 were attributed to alcohol compared to nine in FY2003.

Vandenberg incurred zero fatalities and 12 lost-workday-injuries during the 2006 campaign, said Bryan Eiler, 30th SW Ground Safety manager.

Like all bases, Vandenberg's 101 CDS program is tailored specifically to target its efforts based on local hazards and needs. The 30th Space Wing Safety office uses in-house safety programs with commanders and unit safety representatives, Mr. Eiler said. They'll address safety applications in the unit and perform a short safety survey to inform the safety office of perceived safety hazards in the units and on base roadways.

101 CDS efforts attempt to increase personal awareness of risk and thereby reduce the number of summer mishaps and fatalities. One concept the campaign uses is called personal risk management.

"Exposure to higher risk activities demands increased emphasis on personal risk management," said John Phillips, Air Force Chief of Ground Safety.

"Personal risk management is a concept that makes you stop before you do something and think about what you're going to do before you do it," he said. "You think about the hazards associated with what you're going to do, and you go through that process to make sure you're prepared for anything that can happen."

The 101 CDS campaign officially begins May 25 and ends at 7 a.m. Sept. 4 - the Labor Day weekend.