Stay Safe-n-Sound during holiday season
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As a part of this year's Winter Safety Campaign, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy issued a tri-signature "Letter to Airmen" reminding service members to include sound risk management in all of their holiday and winter plans.
The 2012 campaign, Safe-n-Sound, started Nov. 16 and runs through Jan. 2.
The Air Force's top three leaders stated in the letter that ""All Airmen, uniformed and civilian, have a responsibility to ensure a safe holiday for themselves, their fellow Airmen, their wingmen, and their families by being alert to safety risks on and off duty."
Whether traveling, celebrating or participating in winter activities, time should be taken to include sound risk management.
"One of the leading causes of mishaps and lost duty time during the winter season are slips, trips and falls on the ice," said Master Sgt. Jeremiah Carpenter, 51st Fighter Wing ground safety manager. "Common areas where many mishaps occur are at the entrances to facilities, stairwells, parking lots and sidewalks."
Osan and Kunsan present additional challenges compared to other bases because the main mode of transportation is walking, he explained. Dark areas and black ice also contribute to a substantial amount of injuries.
To aid in creating awareness during the holiday season, the Air Force Safety Center has developed a campaign plan available at http://www.afsec.af.mil/. New safety modules will be uploaded each week to include winter road conditions, holiday decorating, seasonal fire hazards, travel planning and more.
"Traveling is such an important part of the holiday season for the Air Force community," Carpenter said. "Many of us assigned overseas will be taking leave this holiday season to visit friends and family back home. In our haste to get there, many times the most basic safety principles are at risk of being ignored. Often, people try to fit 10 days of activities into a week."
To avoid these traveling hazards, the Air Force also provides TRiPS (Travel Risk Planning System), an online, automated risk-assessment tool to aid Airmen in recognizing and avoiding hazards they face on the road.
Another common holiday risk are decorations that involve extension cords.
Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Cords should also be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, and lights should also be checked for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wire. Remembering to unplug trees and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house is essential to safety.
"Being proactive is the key," Carpenter said. "Removing snow and ice before it accumulates is a great way to prevent the next mishap and keep the area hazard free."
Vehicle operators and pedestrians need to be aware that during the winter season, vehicle stopping distances may increase due to limited traction and crosswalks are an area of special concern.
"Pedestrians must ensure that a vehicle will be able to stop in time for the individual to cross the road safely," Carpenter said. "If everyone makes the effort to be aware of these safety concerns, we should have a safe and fun-filled season."
The "Letter to Airmen" can be found here.