Critical days of summer: Official campaign ends, focus on safety and risk management continues

  • Published
  • By Brian Shreve
Though the heat and humidity linger, another Critical Days of Summer is in the books - and the numbers are in. 

Spanning May 23 through Sept. 2, this year's theme, "Risk: Double checks, not second thoughts," aimed to provide airmen and other base personnel with support and guidance in avoiding seasonal hazards.  

The annual risk management campaign ended with 14 airmen fatalities Air Force-wide. That's down from 19 last summer, and all of them were the result of off-duty mishaps. Ten involved personal motor vehicles, the remaining four are attributed to sports and recreational accidents.  

Hitting close to home, one of those fatalities was a Robins Airman, who died in a motorcycle collision July 3.

There were a total of 59 reported off-duty mishaps involving Team Robins members, according to the data released by the 78th Air Base Wing Safety Office. Those mishaps yielded 12 lost workdays and 298 restricted duty days. In 2013, there were 24 off-duty injuries reported installation-wide.  

The significant increase is, in part, due to improved reporting across the base, as well as organizational changes within some tenant units, said Dana Nelson, 78th Occupational Safety and Health manager.  

"We did, however, see an increase in miscellaneous home mishaps and those related to the growing popularity of physical fitness activities," he said. "Thus the safety office gained additional reporting and investigative responsibilities."

The Air Force began highlighting summer safety issues in 1964, setting the stage for what later became the Critical Days of Summer. Throughout the years, safety topics have remained the same, said Nelson, though the presentation and number of mishaps change.

With several programs available to help counter incidents, such as Airmen against Drunk Driving or See Me, Save Me - the motorcycle safety campaign - assistance is available in avoiding potential hazards, and Team Robins must remain vigilant regardless of the season, said Scott Eck, Installation safety chief.  

"These programs and processes help everyone identify and mitigate any mishap situation," he said. "The key is year-round, active engagement, always looking for anything that could pose a risk and taking actions to minimize or eliminate it."