Academy safety director speaks out

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- We graduated 1,046 officers of character and members of the Class of 2009 on May 27. Graduation officially marks the end of spring and the beginning of the summer season at the Air Force Academy.

Although this past winter was mild by traditional Colorado standards, I know many members of Team USAFA look forward to the annual summer vacation. I know my family and I are heading to the beach for some quality time together this summer. With the warmer weather and opportunities for travel come the increased risk this time of year brings. 

The Air Force 2009 Critical Days of Summer campaign focuses on four major areas: traffic safety, alcohol awareness, fatigue and drowning prevention. Each week we will focus on a specific aspect within one of these four areas.

Automobile and motorcycle accidents continue to plague our Airmen as the number-one area for fatal mishaps. So far this fiscal year, 29 of the 37 Air Force fatalities were either automobile or motorcycle accidents. More than 78 percent of our fatalities this year, both on and off duty, were traffic related.

We all have our part to play in keeping our USAFA family of cadets, civilians and active-duty personnel safe during this critical season.

Commanders: Stay engaged with your personnel and continue to emphasize the message of safety and risk management daily. Before embarking on a trip of any length analyze and mitigate the risks associated and plan the trip. We must maintain the personal risk management mindset with our personnel as they leave the gates of USAFA.

Supervisors: You are in the best position to influence safe behavior both on and off-duty.
Alcohol and fatigue also remain as emphasis areas during the spring/summer months. Either of these two factors coupled with operating a motor vehicle can be disastrous.

Airmen: You are our critical link to watching out for each other after we leave the workplace. Take care of one another, anticipate and step in before your Wingman needs help. The greatest hero of the day is the one who steps in to stop reckless or irresponsible actions, thereby often saving a life.

My staff stands ready to speak to your organizations about safety. Additionally, we can assist in arranging guest speakers from outside agencies to help disseminate the message in often unique ways. 

Don't hesitate to call me at 719-333-3143 or my staff at 719-333-3205.

Thanks for your continued support in making USAFA a great, safe place to live and work. Enjoy your summer and as always -- be safe!