Risk: Double checks, not second thoughts

This year's Critical Days of Summer theme is "Risk: Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts."  The theme aims to instill the importance of risk management during all off-duty activities. (U.S. Air Force graphic illustration)

This year's Critical Days of Summer theme is "Risk: Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts." The theme aims to instill the importance of risk management during all off-duty activities. (U.S. Air Force graphic illustration)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO--LACKLAND, Texas -- As old man winter heads into hibernation and warm summer days arrive, it's the time of year most of us look forward to by planning the bulk of our annual activities. This means increased travel, outdoor activities and plans to simply relax. While beautiful summer days provide optimal weather, the number of safety mishaps rises between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In an effort to reduce off-duty mishaps across the Air Force, the Critical Days of Summer Campaign (CDS) was created and is in effect during this timeframe.  

This year's theme is "Risk:  Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts". This mindset instills the importance of risk management during all off-duty activities.  If you identify and mitigate hazards before the operation, activity or action takes place, you significantly reduce the severity of a mishap and/or the probability of one occurring. This leads to mission success! When RM principles are not put in place, our mission suffers due to needless mishaps that occur each and every day.    

According to the Air Force Safety Center (AFSEC), there were 958 cases of lost work time and 21 fatalities Air Force-wide during the 2013 CDS.  Of these mishaps, 62 percent involved sports and recreational activities. By utilizing RM during off-duty activities, we can turn these numbers around in an effort to achieve a zero-mishap goal. Supervisors are in the best position to engage on a day-to-day basis ensuring RM principles are ingrained in the minds of all Airmen.    

RM principles include identifying the hazards, assessing the hazard, developing controls and making decisions, implementing controls and supervising and evaluating. Making sound decisions to prevent a mishap is not a choice, it is our duty. Including RM and safety 24/7 is a vital part of our summer activities, thus maximizing the chances of having an injury free summer. Part of being an Airman means putting Service before Self, one of our Core Values. In order to meet this obligation, we must keep ourselves ready to fly, fight and win at all times. This call would be difficult to answer if we are sidelined by a preventable, needless mishap.  

Last year during the CDS, 24 AF had one lost time injury (sports and recreation) with zero reported traffic mishaps; an awesome feat! Keeping these RM principles in mind, supervisors engaging with their Airmen, and making smart personal decisions can lead the 24 AF to another SAFE and enjoyable summer.