Keep the safety momentum going strong all summer

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. John T. Rauch Jr.
  • Air Force Chief of Safety
Keeping safety at the forefront of each Airman’s mind is always the goal, but perhaps even more so as we start the 2018 summer season.

Historically, the Air Force sees a jump in off-duty mishaps during the summer months. By applying sound decision-making on and off duty, Airmen decrease the potential for injuries or even death.

Since starting the Quest for Zero campaign in 2014, we’ve seen an approximate 30% reduction in occupational on-the-job injuries. My hope for this summer is that we carry that safety momentum over into the fun and relaxing off-duty activities we participate in with friends and family. An even better goal is to keep building that safety mindset all the way to the end of summer and beyond.

Since off-duty mishaps occur most to our Air Force family during the summer months, let’s examine some of the numbers:

Fatalities: Over the past five years, the Air Force has trended downward from 19 fatalities in the summer of 2013 to nine in 2017. This averages to 13 Airmen lost every summer in off-duty activities, to include boating, swimming, camping, hiking, riding all-terrain-vehicles and more.

Injuries: In 2017, the Air Force experienced 1,837 injuries in sports and recreational activities such as basketball, softball, camping and hiking. Twenty-six of those mishaps were water-related, and 18 involved fireworks and campfires.

From boating to barbequing, and everything in between, precautions must be taken. Please stop and think: do you have the right gear, plan and skills for the activities you are about to partake in? If not, make the necessary adjustments. If so, move forward and have a great time!

Remember, keep pushing forward with that safety mindset we’ve established as an Air Force family, and have a terrific summer of 2018!