By SMSGT CLINTON HAMMONS, HQ AMC Occupational Safety
Air Mobility Command’s Critical Days of Summer (CDS) campaign began on Memorial Day weekend and will continue through Labor Day weekend. Past trends show that summer months are often the most deadly. It is not the months themselves that are more deadly, but many Airmen choose to participate in riskier activities during these months. AMC continues to combat these risks by conducting this annual safety awareness campaign … and it is working!
The CDS campaign goal is zero fatal mishaps during this timeframe. AMC has met this goal for three straight years—Take 3!—and we hope the success continues this year. Despite AMC’s success, the Air Force still had 16 Airmen lose their lives during the CDS months last year. Of these 16, 11 were due to motor vehicle accidents, which continue to be the leading cause of fatalities. Motor vehicle accidents are often the result of poor choices like driving too fast, drinking and driving, or distracted driving. In many of these mishaps, personal risk management could have prevented the mishap or at least reduced the injury severity. It is because of this that AMC’s focus during this campaign is personal risk management and sound decision-making. Take 3 seconds, minutes, or steps to evaluate the risk—it will make a difference!
This year’s campaign included a video from the AMC Commander and Command Chief. In addition to this video, AMC Safety provided units with small group discussion topics, which can be held between supervisors and work center personnel. All too often, personnel overlook minor details, do not complete an effective risk assessment, or simply ignore the known risks, leading to injuries or even death. We hope these small group discussions will get our Airmen thinking about potential consequences of their actions or inactions, and ultimately help improve their personal risk management decisions.
All of us make decisions on a daily basis: Do I get out of bed and get ready for work, or do I hit the snooze and end up late? Do I merge into the right lane now, or later? Should I jump off this cliff into the water just because my friends are … or not? We make many decisions with minimal thought, however, during the summer months many of the activities we decide to participate in may require more in-depth consideration. Many summer activities, such as kayaking or rock climbing, involve greater levels of risk compared to what we normally do. Both of these activities have obvious risks. Examples of risk mitigation associated with these two activities would be going with a professional the first time kayaking or not go rock climbing alone—ensuring you have a method to contact emergency services in both cases, if needed. In some extreme cases, the best option may be to not participate or at least postpone the activity. You may need to wait until you get training, or until a more experienced friend is available to go with you. These decisions are a personal responsibility, which is why personal risk management is so important.
Please take the time to enjoy the summer; we just ask that you be smart about it. Take the time to consider the risks related to summer activities, decide what can be done to mitigate those risks prior to participating, and if need be, cancel or postpone the activity until it can be done safely. We need each of our Airmen to do their part in order to optimize mission execution and effectiveness, preserve resources, and reach our goal. Take 3! It is up to you! Have fun and stay safe!