Staying safe this summer starts with the little things

By Staff Sgt. Brittany Jones
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs

The summer season brings its own potential for increased risks. Plan for more people on the roadways, increased water recreation, more sporting activities and more alcohol-related incidents.

According to the Naval Safety Center, a total of four Sailors and Marines have died due to preventable off-duty mishaps so far this summer. Two Sailors and one Marine died in motor vehicle accidents, and one Sailor died due to injury while participating in a recreational activity.

According to the Air Force Safety Center, an additional eight Airmen died off-duty from May 27-July 29. Two died participating in sports and recreation, two in vehicle accidents, three in motorcycle mishaps and one death is classified as miscellaneous. One-fourth of these deaths was alcohol-related.

During the 101 Critical Days of Summer, many military members take leave to visit their families and loved ones. Sometimes these trips involve driving hundreds or thousands of miles. Every year the military loses members because of preventable vehicle accidents.

The Naval Safety Center provides the following tips for motorists:1. Start every trip well-rested
2. Schedule breaks every two hours
3. Never drink and drive

4. Pull over if you get tired–it’s better to get there late than not at all

Travel Risk Planning System, or TRiPs, is a government Web site available to help members plan their trip safely. TRiPs also offers travel tips, maps, and other tools to help identify and reduce travel risks. For more information or to plan your trip visit trips.safety.army.mil.

Car and truck operators aren’t the only motorists at risk for mishaps during the summer months; Military members who ride motorcycles are also susceptible to hazards and should take extra precautions while on the roadway.

Master Sgt. Chris Orbits, JBAB ground safety manager, said motorcyclists should always wear personal protective equipment while riding, including but not limited to, helmets, boots, gloves, reflective clothing, and clothing that covers and protects skin.

Water and boating activities are also popular during the hot summer months. The Naval Safety Center recommends learning to swim if you don’t know how, swimming where lifeguards are present, obeying water condition warnings and participating in a Coast Guard-approved boating safety class.

Participating in any sport or recreational activity has the potential for danger. The Naval Safety Center offers these tips to reduce your risk of injury:1. Stretch prior to activity
2. Stay hydrated
3. Wear proper gear and footwear
4. Know your limitsThe Air Force Safety Center urges military members to drink respsonsibly and to always have a designated driver.

“Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to make decisions,” Orbits said. “Think twice before mixing alcohol with recreational or water activities.”

Orbits said Airmen and Sailors should always have a plan, and to let their supervisors know what that plan is so if problems arise, someone will be able to come help them.

“When it comes to personal risk management, you need to do whatever you can to protect yourself,” Orbits said. “And that starts with the little things.”

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