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Safety precautions can prevent Airmen fatalities

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by Senior Airman Aja Heiden
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/29/2014 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla.  -- The Critical Days of Summer, which have an increased number of mishaps as Airmen spend more time outdoors participating in potentially hazardous activities, wraps-up after Labor Day, 2 Sept. 

This year's theme to reduce risk is "Double checks, not second thoughts," according to the Air Force Safety Center site.

During the Labor Day weekend many Airmen will be traveling, enjoying barbecues, and engaging in recreational activities which increase the risk of accidents. 

"Pay attention, more vehicles will be on the road, including motorcycles," said Yanic Derys, Safety Specialist for the 482nd." On the way back, drive well-rested, be patient, and remember roads will be congested."

Motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of Air Force personnel.

"So far, during the 2014 Critical Days of Summer, the Air Force has sustained 14 fatalities compared to 19 in 2013 for the same period," said Derys. "Ten of them were motor vehicle fatalities. This year, it seems inattention is the leading cause of the mishaps. Sixty percent of the mishaps involved a single vehicle, three involved motorcycles." 

Law enforcement agencies will be out in full-force as a preventative measure to ensure highways are safe from impaired drivers, and waterways are safe for boating and swimming.

While participating in water-related activities, precautions should be taken. Some examples are using sunscreen, staying hydrated by drinking water, keeping an eye on each other, and fire safety.

Additionally fire safety precautions should be followed.

"Firstly, propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors," said Senior Master Sgt. Lorenza K. Gardner Sr., Superintendent for 482nd Mission Support Group, Fire Flight. "The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grilling area, and keep your grill clean by removing grease buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill." 

Although there are ways to reduce the chance of fires when cooking, some fires, like the ones caused by lightning, may be out of one's control. 

"If they see a fire caused by lightening on base, Airmen should think of personal safety first and move to a more protected location, then call 911 or the fire department of base at (305) 224-7117," said Gardner.

Here are some tips to follow in the event of a fire, according to officials at fire safety:

-Take all fire alarms seriously and leave the building immediately
- Feel door handles - if they are warm, do not open them and find another way out of the room. If you can't get out, signal for help.
- Close doors behind you
- Stay low when there is smoke, where the air is cleaner and cooler
- If there is an alarm is on your way out, pull it
- Once outside, do not go back in
- Practice a home and work evacuation plan and learn where to go if a fire starts in your building

Keep these tips in mind to help ensure a safe holiday weekend.

For more information, or to report an incident contact the safety office at 786-415-7333.


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