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New "Stop the Loss" safety campaign aids Army National Guard readiness

By Amanda Koons | National Guard Bureau | Dec. 10, 2012

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Army National Guard (ARNG) Combined "Stop the Loss" campaign, designed to promote positive personal behavior patterns that reduce risk and enhance readiness, has been launched.

The campaign provides a holistic partnership approach to stopping loss within the Guard family. Its slogan: "No matter the reason, losing one Soldier is one too many!"

Six partners are working together with the common "Stop the Loss" goal during FY13 to prevent fatalities and removal of Soldiers from formation.

The campaign will serve to reinforce "practices that result in positive, risk-mitigating efforts," said Lt. Col. Win Burkett, prior chief, ARNG Safety & Standardization Branch.

"Stop the Loss" is also closely connected with Personnel Readiness as an increase in operational tempo has placed strain on the ARNG’s resources.

As a result of the FY12 Safety and Standardization Conference, safety committees formed to analyze incidents, accidents and fatalities. After studying regional trends and causes, behavioral modification was established as one of the primary goals of the campaign.

The new, proactive approach contrasts with the previous, "quick-fix" safety inspections of the past. The team hopes the campaign’s principles will become engrained through standard SOPs and daily business rather than simply a "one-time" effort, according to Kenneth E. Washington, ARNG Safety & Occupation Health manager.

Part of the campaign’s efforts will provide an avenue for Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors to be able to share the decisions and choices that saved them from the brink of disaster and avoided a disastrous situation to their formation, family and the ARNG.

Describing last-minute decisions that helped individuals avoid disaster will allow others to do the same. Best practices and information will be shared among ARNG safety offices at the state, region and national level. Thinking in a more comprehensive manner with regards to risk management will target the leading factors that contribute to accidents.

Spearheaded by the ARNG Safety & Standardization Branch, five additional partners with a stake in promoting and sustaining positive behavior choices have been included in the "Stop the Loss" efforts.

These include Resilience and Risk Reduction, Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, Behavioral Health, Health Promotion and the Chaplaincy.

The common "Stop the Loss" theme guides each partner’s efforts while each has a unique offering to Soldiers and their families.

For example, Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene’s goal is to have Soldiers "Work Healthy, Go Home Healthy and Stop the Loss." The Chaplaincy’s goal is to encourage Soldiers to "Talk to Someone, Talk to Your Unit Ministry Team, Stop the Loss."

To demonstrate success, each partner has tailored metrics pegged to specific goals.

In FY12, Safety & Standardization recorded 83 fatalities of ARNG Soldiers as a result of accidents. Forty-seven of 83 fatalities were E1-E4 Soldiers under the age of 28, while they comprise 49% of the ARNG’s overall population.

Of privately owned vehicle (POV) accidents, 88% involved behavior such as loss of control, reckless driving, lack of helmet or personal protective equipment, not wearing a seatbelt, driving under the influence or speeding and more.

For FY13, Lt. Col. Herm Valentine, Safety & Standardization Branch chief, said one of this fiscal year’s goals is to strive to reduce indiscipline-related fatalities by 10% through increasing personal accountability and encouraging sound judgment and decision making.

The campaign was launched Nov. 8 at the ARNG Readiness Center "Stop the Loss" presentations and demonstrations will continue at safety briefings, conferences and town halls across the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

The "Stop the Loss" Campaign has numerous supporting resources helpful to Soldiers and families. The ARNG Safety Support Center offers a Campaign Introduction DVD with a new one to be released in January 2013.

Providing an overview of the campaign, the DVD includes statements from the director of the ARNG as well as leadership from each of the partners. Posters, brochures, DVDs and other promotion materials are available by emailing the ARNG Safety Support Center here or calling 334-255-2520.