Critical Days of Summer in upon the Mighty Ninety

  • Published
  • By Staff Reports
  • 90th Missile Wing Safety
This past Memorial Day weekend started the Critical Days of Summer safety campaign. This Air Force campaign started over two decades ago and has now spread to the entire Department of Defense. The campaign starts from the Memorial Day weekend through the Labor Day weekend.

"The reason there is a special emphasis campaign is simple; military fatalities are much higher during summer months than any other time of the year," said Mike Woods, 90th Missile Wing Ground Safety manager. "The longer, warmer days means more people are out on the roads for longer periods of time and even more people are engaged in outdoor activities."

"It's a simple matter of more exposure equals more chances for people to make mistakes - unfortunately sometimes fatal mistakes," Woods added.

The wing safety office is emphasizing using personal risk management during the upcoming months.

"Most people think 'safety' means being risk adverse. In other words, we should never do anything that can get us hurt; I believe that risk is a good thing," Woods said.

How boring would life be without risk? Everybody takes risks in personal relationships, finances and in physical activities. The secret is to manage one's risk to an acceptable level, what they call "mitigation."

What is considered acceptable risk?

"That's a question you should ask your supervisor and commander!' Woods said, "What's acceptable is open to opinion, so I always tell people to ask themselves 'What would my boss or commander say?'"

Woods said he never met a commander who didn't support Airmen getting out and having a good time. Likewise, all commanders support Airmen taking leave to travel to see family or tourist attractions. But, every commander he's met also believes Airmen should use risk management.

So what is risk management?

"It's a fancy phrase for common sense," Woods said, "I like to use a model that an Airman from this wing came up with more than 10 years ago."

· THINK AHEAD - What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? What don't I want to happen?
· KNOW THE RISKS - How could I get hurt if I do this? How badly?
· CHOOSE TO BE SAFE - What can I do to prevent a serious injury? What can I do to "mitigate" the risks? Wear PPE? Take rest breaks during my road trip? Avoid alcohol?

"Even if you use risk management you could still get injured, but you will avoid a serious injury that would have a negative impact on the wing's mission and, more importantly, your life," Woods said.