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Home : News : Family Programs
Family Programs News
NEWS | June 18, 2013

Summer safety starts with you

By Diana M. Rodriguez Joint Services Support

ARLINGTON, Va. - It's that time of year again! The warm weather is upon us, and schools across the country are letting out!

Summer is traditionally the time of year when many people will take vacations; and enjoy sports, activities, and events they've been waiting for all year.

Unfortunately, there is another side of summer fun that can bring very unhappy and dangerous outcomes if proper safety measures are ignored. Summer is a time of year when it is most important to remember that safety should not be taken for granted! Don't let preventable injuries or accidents ruin your summer fun.

June is National Safety Month, and the a few weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel posted a Summer Safety Message to the Department of Defense website. He captured some very informative points and statistics that emphasize how critical it is to be extra cautious during the summer months.

Vehicle safety
As you drive to and from vacation destinations, remember that 81 percent of the non-combat fatalities in 2012 total took place over the summer.

Last summer, 80 service members died in motor vehicle collisions; 27 in 4-wheel vehicles, 47 while riding motorcycles, 4 were pedestrians, and 2 were bicyclists.

These fatalities occurred in spite of state laws and Department of Defense policies requiring the use of seatbelts while in a car and protective gear while riding motorcycles and bicycles.

An untold number of deaths resulted from fatigue - deaths preventable by proper trip planning and fatigue management while driving.

Water safety
Some of you will enjoy water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving or water skiing.

Last summer, six service members died while participating in water-related activities. It is important to follow swimming area rules and to be aware of the hidden dangers inherent in participating in water activities.

Alcohol safety
Alcohol is all too often a component in these tragic accidents. Recognize the risks and make good decisions. We all know that alcohol, even in small quantities, impairs our decision-making and is often a significant factor in many accidents. So before taking our first sip, we need to remember never to drink and drive. Plan ahead and always think before acting.

Adding on to Secretary Hagel's, here is a list of a examples and activities that also require increased awareness for Summer Safety:

  • Lawnmower and power tool safety
  • Camping and outdoor activity safety
  • Heat index safety
  • Food handling and picnic safety
  • Boating and rafting safety
  • Swimming safety
  • Barbeque Safety
  • Fireworks safety

The Summer Safety campaign is highlighted every year by the Department of Defense to remind Service members and their Families that safety concerns are not just about job-related accidents or risk. Safety must be an everyday concern and conscious efforts to adhere to safe and reduced-risk activities.