Be 'safety contagious' during the holidays

Lt. Col. Ricardo Aragon (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kenneth Bellard)

Lt. Col. Ricardo Aragon (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kenneth Bellard)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Contagious is a word with negative connotations. Super-contagious diseases spread like wildfire through everyday contact and in some cases, hide any sign of infection until it's too late. On the other hand, when it comes to making smart decisions and being safe, contagious is a positive trait and a very effective method for promoting a culture of safety.

Former Air Force chief of safety, retired Maj. Gen. Frederick Roggero, said "If you do the right thing at the right time, and convince others to do the same, safety will be the result." This is what we can focus on this winter. 

Even though we know winter is an annual occurrence, it often seems to sneak up on us. Our current weather conditions are tame compared to the last few Academy winters, but we know the warmer weather will soon give way to a real Colorado winter and we shouldn't be caught unprepared.

Winter driving might seem like our main safety concern during the holidays but many other hazards can reach out and hurt us and our families if we're not cautious.  We all need to be safety contagious this winter because we don't always see the risk in what we do. Be an example to your family, friends and those you lead. Never underestimate how your actions can be contagious to those around you, and if you see your family and friends needing a safety reminder, speak up.

Think safe and be safe while enjoying all the season has to offer. Happy holidays and best wishe for the new year.

Safety tips
· Drive defensively and with caution. Give yourself more time to get to your destination.
· Get plenty of rest before driving and pull over if needed.
· We spend a lot of time indoors with family and friends during the holiday season, so check to make sure your home's carbon monoxide detectors are working.
· Whether shopping, shoveling snow, or walking into your workplace, move slower on icy walkways as slips, trips and falls are among the more frequent winter accidents. 
· Use a spotter when working on the ladder to put up or take down Christmas lights and other decorations.
· Know your limits with winter sports. Ease into your snowbound activities if it's been a while since you've hit the slopes or if it's your first time. Always wear a helmet and all other protective gear.
· Recharge your mind and body during your time off. Reach out to those who may be struggling with stress or depression this season.
· Never drink and drive. Along with the untold physical and financial damage that can occur in a drunken driving event, local and state law enforcement agencies will be out in full force during the holidays.