Eglin demonstrates safe summer three-quarters way through 101 critical days, plan to continue

  • Published
  • By Col. Bruce McClintock
  • 96th Air Base Wing commander
The start of August means we've completed three-quarters of the 101 Critical Days of Summer. I'm proud to say that Team Eglin has not experienced a single Class A or B mishap during this time and has suffered only minor injuries incurred mostly on the sporting fields. 

Achieving our goal of zero mishaps, zero fatalities, requires a team effort from every Airman, wingman, mentor and leader. The Team Eglin leadership is proud of everyone's efforts and optimistic that we can continue this great record through the rest of this period. But we are also aware of what history tells us; the end of summer is a very dangerous time.

Our challenge is sustaining this record and the best way to sustain this record is to keep it fresh. The best way I know how to impart the importance of safety is like most things, face-to-face. If you are a leader, I expect you to be doing this. Supervisors, you know this is part of your duties. 

The key here is not to just forward a sound bite or a slide and cross it off your "to do" list. Talk to your people, talk among yourselves and make time so people will know it is important to you and their safety is important to you. Remind them that the Air Force Chief of Staff focused on four campaign areas this summer: traffic safety, alcohol awareness, fatigue, and drowning prevention.

The number one cause of serious injuries and fatalities to Air Force people during the 101 Critical Days is motor vehicle mishaps. If you know someone is going on that well deserved family trip and driving, talk to them about not pushing the envelope, driving on unfamiliar roads, trying to get too much out of one day, having a vehicle that is not road worthy.

The second leading cause of summer fatalities is from drowning. Boating, swimming, scuba diving and river rafting have cost many lives in the past. About half of the drownings occurred after "unintentional entries" -- when people fall, get pushed or knocked into the water. Most water safety tips involve simple common sense: wear Coast Guard approved life preservers on boats and on docks. Know your limits and don't swim beyond your capabilities. 

We live in a very beautiful place but that beauty is tempered by some of the most dangerous rip currents anywhere. Are you telling new people, face-to-face, about this local hazard and are you reminding the "old timers" to not forget?

Always end any face-to-face discussion with a reminder about alcohol use. Alcohol combined with fatigue, traffic or water activity is a deadly mix. Team Eglin takes care of its own by providing rides for those who overindulge via the Airmen Against Drunk Driving Program. Insist that people who drink have a plan; calling AADD is a fail safe, not a plan. Give them the number to have just in case, 882-7233.

Again, we have done well for more than 10 weeks, but the job is not done. Reengage, refresh and recharge the message face-to-face. Take the approach that Team Eglin's success is on your shoulders, and don't let us down. Thank you all for all you have done this summer, let's make the last month just as successful!