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Safety is personal -- for all

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- For many of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer when the nice weather and school vacations draw Airmen and their families out to travel, oftentimes deviating from their normal routines.

In the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we also experience an increased risk of injuries and fatalities. We want everyone to enjoy the wonderful weather, soaking up the Summer sun, however, as we've learned, Airmen take advantage of summertime opportunities that can sometimes involve risky behavior. To avoid preventable mishaps, I ask you to use good judgment and apply sound risk management this summer.

The objective of the 2012 Critical Days of Summer campaign is to make us all aware of the tragic loss and injury of our Airmen during the summertime. In addition, the campaign focuses on raising the understanding that safety is personal -- for all; decisions affect not only those serving, but also families, friends and co-workers. This year, the Air Force theme for this campaign is "Safety -- It's Personal!"

The majority of summer mishaps are a result of poor risk management. Last summer, the command experienced 43 mishaps, including two fatal off-duty mishaps associated with private motor vehicles. Recurring catalysts continue to be excessive speed, alcohol, fatigue, and failure to use seat belts.

Another significant threat to safe vehicle operations continues to be distracted driving. Texting, talking on a cell phone, or adjusting the radio can also take your focus away from the road and can lead to a serious mishap.

We'll spend 15 weeks highlighting important topics each week. From drinking and driving to barbecue safety tips, each week is designed to get you to think about mitigating risky behavior while enjoying summertime activities.

The command's goal this summer is zero fatalities. To continue to accomplish our mission we need each and every one of you to return to work safely every day. Enjoy your summer, but please pay attention to your surroundings and assess each situation smartly to mitigate unnecessary risk for yourself, your families, friends and co-workers.