Make safe choices, easily prevent mishaps

  • Published
  • By Maj. Anthony Mims
  • 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
If you had the chance to make a decision that would save your family and friends untold heartache and pain, would you? I think the answer is a resounding "Yes!" Yet, with all too common frequency, Airmen make choices and decisions that can cost them pain and suffering, their careers, or even their lives. I don't think that anyone wakes up in the morning and says, "Hey, I'm going to go have an accident! Yay!", but as we know all too well, our Air Force and military still suffer preventable tragedies. As I read various safety reports and briefings, many common factors surface. They are sometimes referred to as the Dirty Dozen, and I won't list them here because I suspect most of you are familiar with them. Although they have been identified as causal factors in many mishaps, Airmen continue to make poor decisions with tragic consequences.

I had an Airman almost loose the fingers on one hand because he attempted to operate a piece of heavy equipment without any training. He had great intentions, trying to make the mission happen on time, but made a bad choice by not stopping and getting help from a qualified source. It only took him a second to place his hand where it didn't belong, but it took over an hour for the fire department to free him, and months to recover. He did make a good decision to wear his personal protective equipment that day, which the doctors say saved him from being maimed. However, his bad decision that day almost cost him dearly.

We are about to go into the Critical Days of Summer, the Air Force's annual summer safety campaign. You'll hear a lot about boating, driving while fatigued, and motorcycles. Why? Because we continue to lose Airmen and family members every summer in preventable off-duty mishaps, often involving those activities. Please don't tune out these briefings just because you don't ride a motorcycle or jet ski, or operate heavy equipment. I ask that we all continue to learn from every event that you come across, and please continue to strive to make the right choice, the right decision, every time. Your family will thank you.