101 Critical Days: remain vigilant!
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th Space Wing commander
/ Published August 23, 2007
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Summer is winding down, but now is not the time to get complacent about summer safety! The Air Force's 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign continues officially through Labor Day weekend, but those of us who live in Florida must remember - for us, many activities associated with summer actually continue into the late fall and holiday season.
Pay close attention to the statistics of the 45th Space Wing: after the fourth week of this year's campaign, the wing had six reportable lost workday injuries, while the total for all the other Air Force Space Command wings was three. There were three more reportable injuries in the next two weeks for a total of nine within our wing. The majority of these mishaps were a result of slips, trips and falls. While this may not seem significant to our overall mission, these injuries do undermine our ability to perform our duties and support the war on terror. Injuries are costly and truly affect our ability to perform.
In an attempt to reverse this trend, all commanders were provided weekly status updates about mishaps and risks. The Missileer published weekly safety articles with help from our ground safety office. Specialized briefings were presented to personnel in the unit where the majority of the injuries occurred. We've seen a reduction in incidents, so it seems that more of you and your families are paying extra attention to the 'little things,' but the need for vigilance is never ending. Safety should be a part of your lifestyle!
As of this printing, no Shark (and that includes our families) has passed away as the result of a mishap. The remainder of our Air Force is not faring as well. So far this summer, 17 Air Force members have died in mishaps. At this time last year, there were 13 fatalities. The ending total of fatalities last year was 18. How did these fellow warriors die? Fifteen of them died in vehicle crashes, four of these on motorcycles, two on off-road vehicles. The other two fatalities were from drowning. Sharks and Mission Partners, take note: We live in a high risk area!
Even though the most statistically dangerous time of the year is coming to an end, it is critical that we do not let down our guard. Continue to stay attentive to the tasks you are performing, whether they are simple or complex. Remove safety hazards from your work areas and at home. Stay conscientious while driving, following the rules of the road and do not drive while impaired. Remember to wear your seatbelt at all times. If riding a motorcycle, take the safety course and wear all the protective gear, all the time. If you see a safety hazard or have a safety concern, contact the ground safety office at 494-2202 for their assistance. Keep focused on safety and remember to "Be cool and act safe." Protect our most precious assets: yourself, your family and your co-workers! Go Sharks!