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Alcohol and the Air Force don't mix

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As the start of the "101 Critical Days of Summer" nears, I would like to remind everyone to be safe in their recreational and leisure time activities, not only while using 45th Force Support Squadron facilities, but off-base as well.

Here in Florida, we spend a lot of leisure time on and around the water. Our Outdoor Recreation staff offers a Learn to Swim program for ages 6 months through adult. They also administer a safe boating course to help keep you and your family safe on the water. This course, or the Florida Boater Education Course, is required to rent motorized watercraft at Patrick AFB. Also, the marina offers free annual vessel safety checks performed by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Please take advantage of these programs, don't forget to wear life jackets, use sunscreen, and keep an eye on severe weather while engaging in outdoor activities.

As the temperatures soar, it's important to stay hydrated when exercising at our fitness centers, jogging tracks, and off-base. Heatstroke is a top concern. Drink plenty of fluids. Our fitness center posts a color-coded heat index chart to keep you aware of the outside temperature, and amount of water recommended to stay hydrated. The staff can also advise you of safety precautions in your personal exercise routines to help avoid other sports related injuries and ailments.

Certainly the most important safety concern is the responsible use of alcohol. If you drink - don't drive. It's that simple. Irresponsible drinking is incompatible with Air Force Core Values. It affects the mission, morale, discipline, health and safety of you, your family and others. And it can be devastating to your military career! Be smart - use a wingman, be a wingman! The Airmen Against Drunk Driving program is a good example of the wingman concept. If you need a ride home on a Friday or Saturday evening, call 494-RIDE. The service is free.

Although we promote responsible drinking at our MWR & AAFES facilities on-base that sell and serve alcohol - through designated driver and alcohol education programs, and by refusing service to anyone who appears to be intoxicated, the choices you make in your life are ultimately your own. Making the right decisions in life coincides with the Air Force's guidance on "Establishing a Culture of Responsible Choices (CORC)." The CORC philosophy promotes personal accountability, and a change from a "work hard/play hard" mentality to a "work hard/play smart" attitude.

It all boils down to this: people are our most valuable resource. Buckle up, enjoy your recreational activities and be safe in everything you do.