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News > 101 Critical Days of Summer: Annual safety campaign kicks off Memorial Day
101 Critical Days of Summer: Annual safety campaign kicks off Memorial Day

Posted 5/26/2011   Updated 5/26/2011 Email story   Print story


by Brian Schroeder
Staff Writer

5/26/2011 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- It is tornado season in Oklahoma, which means spring is quickly spinning toward summer, leaving a path of summer activities in its wake. In order to raise awareness of the potential safety issues involved with summer activities, the Tinker Safety Office is announcing the 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign, from May 30 to June 5.

The safety campaign, which is technically 102 days, is meant to increase the knowledge and understanding of the dangers involved with recreational activities, as well as common summer tasks. The campaign, in conjunction with the Joint Service Safety Campaign, has been promoting safety awareness to military personnel for more than 30 years.

"People undertake different activities during the summer verses the basic stay-indoor activities you participate in during the winter, so this is the time when most military off-duty mishaps occur," said Emily Wolfgeher, acting chief of ground safety with the 72nd Air Base Wing Safety Office. "We want to give the whole workforce something to think about in their off-duty time, so we make an effort to produce additional safety-related packages, briefings and training.

"As we go through the summer we want to keep reminding people this is a more hazardous time of the year," she said. "The common denominator in most mishaps is alcohol, with motor vehicle and boating accidents accounting for the majority of fatality-associated activities. There are a lot of sports-related accidents during this time also, but injuries are usually less severe in nature."

This year's campaign will begin by focusing on alcohol use and motor vehicle safety. However, throughout the summer, themes will address various topics, including watercraft, grilling and lawn maintenance safety, to remind recently thawed, summer-activity goers to take it easy on their first time out and to not play beyond their capabilities, Ms. Wolfgeher said.

"We not only try to address the fun aspects of summer, but also the necessary activities, like mowing the lawn because that has to get done too," she said. "They have not played all winter and they want to go out jet skiing, boating or some other activity and they haven't had any recent practice. They play at the level they were playing at the end of last summer and think 'I can do this.' That's why we have a lot of our minor injuries. If you try and play basketball at top level and you have not played in six months, mishaps are likely to happen."

Summer Bash on June 4 will enable the Safety Office to reach more people on base than any other event. It will utilize demonstrations and hands-on safety-training tools for children and adults. Teaching children about the importance of safety at a young age will hopefully carry over to their adult life, Ms. Wolfgeher added.

"We bring out motorcycles and safety items that kids can use so they know how to protect themselves," she said. "We get to talk to the people who live on base but don't necessarily work on base. A lot of our information gets to the people who work on base really well, but we want it to get to the people who live here as well. We are always delighted to talk to the little kids, so we can encourage a safe lifestyle."

Summer Bash activities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 4 on the east side of Bldg. 6001. It is open to all base ID card holders and invited guests.

The Safety Office also provides briefings to commanders to use in their commander's calls, as well as additional safety information accessible on the Safety Office webpage. The Safety Office also provides beginner, experienced, sport bike and advanced riding courses for those wanting to ride various types of motorbikes at various skill levels. Motorcycle training classes are required for all military personnel who ride a motorcycle, and for civilians riding on base.

Although the Safety Office does not provide boating courses, Ms. Wolfgeher said that free safe boating classes are listed online for those wanting more information.

"We want people to pay more attention to risk management during their off-duty activities and to think things through before they start," Ms. Wolfgeher said. "We encourage them to review what they are doing and think about what the hazards are and what they can do to prevent a mishap.

"Our goal is zero fatalities across Tinker, including tenant units," she added. "I hope when September comes around, we can say we met our goal."

For more information about safe recreational practices and everyday tasks, visit the Safety page on Tinker's internal website.

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