Keep safety in mind in seasonal, holiday plans

Darlene Y. Cowsert

Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs

Increased travel and emotional overload are hallmarks of the holiday seasons that safety officials say result in preventable mishaps.

“It’s as simple as taking the same safety practices and procedures we use on duty and applying them to our off-duty activities,” said Air Force Chief of Safety Maj. Gen. John T. Rauch. Every Airman should maintain a safety culture, he said, from following the fundamentals on duty to using sound risk management and making smart decisions off duty.

“I urge every Airman — uniformed and civilian— to take the time to thoroughly think through your holiday plans and use sound risk management when traveling and participating in the seasonal and holiday activities,” Rauch said.

Occupational safety experts at the Air Force Safety Center track mishaps through the fall-winter-holiday period from the Monday preceding Thanksgiving Day to the day after New Year’s Day. Mishaps for those periods over the past five fiscal years resulted in 24 serious off-duty mishaps; 20 deaths, one permanent total disability and four permanent partial disabilities. Motor vehicle mishaps made up the majority with 15, followed by sports, recreation and individual fitness with five.

“While we know that one fatal mishap is too many, it’s especially disheartening when we see that most of these mishaps were preventable,” said Bill Parsons, Air Force chief of occupational safety. “If every Airman commits to making risk management part of every activity — on duty and off duty — I’m convinced there will be more Airmen who return to duty after the holidays with great memories and stories to share.”

While most serious off-duty mishaps involve motor vehicle operation, safety experts agree that potential dangers in the home and in recreational activities must also be managed effectively to save lives and reduce serious injuries.

All Airmen and their families can use safety checklists (shown on the left side of this page) to keep their seasonal and holiday activities safe.

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Category: News