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Don't be a statistic: a safety message

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Samuel King Jr.)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Samuel King Jr.)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It's hard to believe that we are already half way through the 101 Critical Days of Summer. With so much to do in the area this time of year, it is easy to let loose and to lose sight of taking necessary steps to keep ourselves safe while having fun. 

A fact that might bring you back to reality is that since the same year Operation Enduring Freedom started, the Air Force has lost 548 people in off duty mishaps. We have lost about 1/6 that amount of Airmen in both wars for the same time period. 

We are losing significantly more Airmen in preventable off duty accidents than at war. Whether we lose members here at home or in war, the effect is the same- a critical resource lost in our Global War on Terror. 

So the question is what can YOU do to prevent these types of mishaps? 

The number one cause of serious injuries and fatalities during the summer is motor vehicle accidents. This area is even worse due to the influx of tourists in the summer. As always, be a defensive driver and loose the road rage. The most important thing is getting to your destination safely. 

The second leading cause of summer fatalities is drowning, which again, is very prominent in this area. Never dive into shallow water and always swim parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current. 

A common theme among the majority of off duty accidents is that they involve the younger generation. It is easy at times to have the mentality that you are immortal at 22 years old, however, many accidents resulting in fatalities and permanent disabilities will prove otherwise. Remember to think before you act and ask yourself if what you are doing is really safe. 

Most importantly, watch out for your friends and family. If they do not realize what they are doing is a bad idea, you should be there to tell them it is. You never know, you may save the lives of the most important people to you.

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