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101 Critical Days of Summer: Live to Play, Play to Live!

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Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Air Force places great emphasis on the safety of Airmen and their families through the Critical Days of Summer Campaign.

Beginning May 28 and extend through Sept. 7, this year's campaign runs 109 days in hopes of reaching a goal of zero accidents and fatalities.

This goal requires every Airman to be a wingman, mentor and safety leader. Whether its personal leadership in risk management or calling "knock it off" as appropriate, you must be proactive in your approach to saving lives this summer.

During the last three campaigns, averages of 19 Airmen were lost, last year there were 21 fatal mishaps. Thirteen of these accidents were off-duty.

While we have made some slight improvement during the past few years, we are far from our goal of zero preventable fatal mishaps. It takes each of us to save lives, and we have a responsibility to teach, mentor, and provide the right message for everyone from children to adults to make a difference.

Enjoy your summer season and use the following guidelines to ensure you and your Wingmen survive it:

Traffic Safety
Motorcycle and automobile mishaps are the greatest single killer of our Airmen and as of this date. We must reverse this negative trend immediately. Airmen everywhere must carefully manage trip risks and reduce their speed. We also have an unusually high number of passengers killed in automobile collisions. This alarming trend is reversible if all Airmen wear their seatbelts regardless of their seating position in an automobile.

Alcohol Awareness and Fatigue
Slightly more than one-third of Air Force automobile fatalities include alcohol as a factor. Personal accountability and wingman intervention are our best tools to reduce drinking and driving. Likewise, fatigue is another contributing factor to fatalities that needs our focus.

Drowning Prevention
Several Airmen drown every year, typically in lakes and local "swimming holes." Do not mix alcohol and swimming, and watch overextending yourself. The number one mishap prevention tool for drowning is a personal flotation device.

Now that warmer weather is here, keep the following points in mind while planning your activities:
Risk management is a tool to assist us in fighting these summer hazards. It can be done on the fly, anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Simply ask yourself: What am I doing? What can go wrong? Could I hurt myself or others? What actions can I take to reduce or eliminate danger?

Be a good Wingman. This involves watching each others' backs to prevent injury or loss of life. A good Wingman will recognize risky behavior and have the courage to speak up.

Make safety a habit. Wear seatbelts in cars and required protective equipment on motorcycles. Remain alert while at the wheel and plan rest breaks at frequent intervals. Don't speed - it is better to arrive late than not arrive at all. Don't drink and drive. Anticipate the unexpected and be ready to react.

This year's campaign urges everyone to: Live to Play, Play to Live!