Safety - it’s worth a second thought

CAVALIER AFS, North Dakota -- Safety is a topic we talk about often, and with the busy summer season upon us, we'll hear about it even more. We all know it's important, but when you hear safety messages over and over, it's easy for them to go in one ear and out the other.

Everyone knows to be safe, right? Why give it a second thought when (we think) we've all internalized the idea and know that safety is a top concern for the Air Force and our senior leaders?

Well, it's simple. Accidents happen. Some are not preventable, but a vast majority are. Every year too many Airmen are injured or killed on and off duty in various mishaps and each and every one is a terrible tragedy. Doesn't it make sense to ensure we are taking appropriate measures to prevent the preventable mishaps?

So when you hear safety briefings, try not to be complacent. Safety, for the most part, is common sense. It is something we all know -- we just need to ensure we are all applying this common sense prior to conducting activities that have some level of risk. Safety briefings are a good reminder of things we can do to be safe, as well as a reminder that someone out there has suffered the consequences of not following these safe practices before. Let's make sure we are learning the lessons and applying these appropriately.

Whether your summer activities include car travel, boating, motorcycles, fireworks, rock climbing, parachuting, mountain biking, hiking or anything else adventurous, stop and think prior to participating in activities out of the ordinary. Is it safe? Do you have the appropriate personal protection equipment? Do you have the appropriate experience level to be doing what you're doing? Remember that no one is invincible, not even you. Accidents happen. No one is ever expecting one to happen to them. But it can...and it does.

It's too late after a mishap occurs, so let's make sure we are listening to the safety messages and applying them so that we can prevent as many mishaps as possible. People know what to do to be safe. But for whatever reason, they sometimes decide not to, and that can get them into trouble. I'm not saying that you can't do fun and adventurous activities, but make the commitment to follow good safety practices -- they aren't just for other people, they are for all of us. Never stop analyzing your plans and actions with a safety lens -- you are too important to your family, friends and Air Force to take uncalculated risks.

All of us can use a safety reminder. Yes, we get all kinds of Air Force safety briefings, and it might be easy to get complacent. But these messages are worth a second thought -- we all need to be listening. Always be thinking about safety and make sure you are applying it -- for you, for your fellow Airmen and for your family.

Look out for you and your wingman this summer -- and always.