New commander issues summer safety message Published June 12, 2017 By Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien 96th Test Wing EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Summer is rapidly approaching and we are entering a critical period of elevated safety concerns. Accident rates have the potential to soar during the summer months across the Air Force, and Eglin is no exception. To counter a potential increase in mishaps and fatalities, the Air Force instituted the year round “Quest for Zero” safety initiative. Although the initiative is ongoing, there are still opportunities for improved responses to these seasonal changes in our environment. My safety message for this period encourages summer fun with family, friends and fellow Airmen; however, it is designed to point out several methods to minimize risk. First, by rejecting reckless behavior; second, using the right protective equipment; and third, by incorporating risk management before, during and after your activities. The methods just mentioned and the reminders below are vital to your future health and well-being. When operating a motorcycle, wear all your personal protective equipment, slow down when approaching an intersection or curve, drive defensively and closely watch the actions of those around you. In many motorcycle fatalities, the other drivers are quoted as saying, "I looked, but I never saw him." If drinking alcoholic beverages is in your plans, then do not plan on operating a motor vehicle. Also, do not drink excessively regardless of whether you intend to drive or not. If you are on the water, never swim alone and never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You never know when you may need all of your unadulterated skills to stay alive in a water environment. I expect all commanders and supervisors to make contact with each of their Airmen, provide sound mentorship and ensure that they evaluate the risks of their planned activities. Cover all the bases: cell phones, seat belts, defensive driving, motorcycle PPE, speeding, water sports safety and alcohol. The safety culture of our personnel can only be modified through strong leadership. I encourage all Team Eglin personnel to fully incorporate safety into their daily lives during the upcoming summer months. Have an enjoyable summer, but please stay safe. We care about each of you and need you in order to conduct our critical mission.