• Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Anthony F. Przybyslawski
  • Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command

Historically, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been spoiled by ground mishaps and fatalities. However, when the Air Force wrapped up its 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign this year, it became clear that we enjoyed the safest summer in the last 10 years!

But we still need to improve.

Even though we suffered eight fewer deaths than the yearly average of 24, we still lost 16 Airmen in ground mishaps -- four from our Air Education and Training Command family. The Air Force experienced six automobile, five motorcycle, four sports and recreation-related deaths, and one fatality from a home-maintenance injury.

AETC's losses included:

·A technical sergeant who crashed into a ditch driving on a road closed for construction.
·A staff sergeant who crossed the centerline on a motorcycle and collided head-on with a truck.
·An Airman who struck the end of a concrete barrier; when he exited his vehicle to check for damage, a truck hit him.
·A master sergeant who was at home working on his vehicle when it fell off of the jack and crushed him.

There's a common thread these mishaps share ... a little risk management would have made a difference in the outcome.

Here's how I apply risk management to my life. I create a 15-second mental checklist by asking three questions:

1. What am I about to do?
2. What could go wrong?
3. What could I do to mitigate those problems?

For example, my gas grill is a few years old, and I really need to replace the igniter. So, how long is the gas on before the igniter starts the fire? Better keep that lid open. Smelling propane is a dangerous indicator!

It's a simple process to use on and off duty ... teach it to family and friends. It starts first thing in the morning and ends last thing at night, and applies to every action we take.

As we head into fall and hunting season, be aware of the hazards that lurk in everything we do. Roads are still dangerous, and injuries are present in sports and recreation activities.

I ask you to continue your commitment to safety throughout the year. This will help you and your wingmen stay vigilant and safe both on and off duty.