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NEWS | May 24, 2011

101 Critical Days of Summer … be safe!

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer Hudson, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

This weekend marks the beginning of the 101 Critical Days of Summer, the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when too much fun and too much sun can turn a summer vacation into a nightmare. Joint Base Charleston's leaders and the 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office members are reminding service members to remain safe this Memorial Day weekend by staying hydrated, using safety precautions and if alcohol is involved ... have a plan.

By promoting safety through continued training on topics such as alcohol awareness, traffic safety and water safety, base leaders hope to reduce the numbers of accidents and mishaps this summer.

In a message to Air Force leadership, Air Mobility Commander Gen. Raymond E. Johns said, "More Airmen are injured or killed during this period than any other time of year. Sixteen Airmen lost their lives last summer - two from Air Mobility Command. Think about it, the lives of their families and friends will never be the same."

Air Mobility Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. David Spector added, "Every year, we lose more Airmen on our nation's roadways than anywhere else--including war. Excessive speed, alcohol, fatigue and failure to use seat belts are recurring themes."

According to the Navy Safety Center, there has been a significant decrease in the number of deaths from 2009 to 2010 with a 54 percent decrease for Sailors and 37 percent for Marines. However, from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2010, 14 Sailors and 14 Marines still lost their lives, 13 of which died due to a vehicle accident and at least one death or injury each year is an alcohol-related mishap.

"Memorial Day is a time for us to observe, remember and honor our fallen service members," said JB CHS - Weapons Station Command Master Chief Billy Cady. "This is not the time to make those unwise decisions. Be cautious of where you are, what you are doing and how you are going about doing it."

According to 628 ABW safety manager Rick Dangerfield, the month of June not only kicks off the start of the 101 Critical Days of Summer, but National Safety Awareness Month as well.

"Our office is really pushing safety awareness and holding many events in order to help further educate our military members," he said. "Each week during the month of June an event will be held to help with this effort. We will hold events that will help teach our troops about natural disaster clean-ups, drunk driving simulations and fire education. We are even having a comedian come in and help shed some light on the importance of safety through humor.

"We want to remind our service members to practice Operational Risk Management and situational awareness when enjoying activities such as water sports or any other recreational activities they may be involved with this summer," said Mr. Dangerfield.

"If you're out on the water be very aware of your surroundings. There is a lot of lightening this time of year so take proper precautions to protect yourself," he continued. "Also, just because you are on a boat does not mean you cannot get arrested for boating under the influence, which can damage your career. It is important for each service member to keep putting safety first because it only takes a second for a good situation to turn into an unfortunate one."

Although there are many fun-filled days ahead for many, safety should always be at the forefront for each service member to help prevent any accidents from taking place.
"In mere moments, enjoying a summer day can turn tragic. No matter what, each service member should keep safety first while enjoying the warm weather," said CMC Cady. "It is critical and of upmost importance for all, no matter their pay grade."