Don't let safety awareness lapse over holiday weekend Published Sept. 4, 2009 By Senior Master Sgt. Dave Ponce 446th Airlift Wing Safety Office McCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- It has been a busy summer and has gone by so fast!! Kids are in school (finally!) and the fall/winter gray misty skies are back with us. With the end of summer marked by a late Labor Day, don't let your safety awareness lapse. The statistics for fatalities ending the 15th week of the Critical Days of Summer haven't been so good. We are up from the last two years and there is still week 16 left (Labor Day Weekend). Operational Risk Management needs to be interwoven into all of our daily activities. We must determine the risks and act to reduce the risks. As our Critical Days of Summer campaign comes to an end, we recognize motor vehicle mishaps as the number one issue facing our Airmen today. Alcohol, fatigue, seatbelt use, proper protective equipment, and excessive speed for conditions continue to play a role. Driver distraction and driver experience influenced the fatal mishaps as well. Defensive driving is crucial. If you are doing something besides driving when driving, you dramatically increase your risk for a mishap. Safety needs to happen not just during the summer months, but continue everyday on and off the job. We must all keep safety at the forefront. Talk safety not just at work, but at home with family members. As we enter our fall safety campaign, please remember the shift of students back to school as well as road and weather condition changes. Wildlife, such as deer, are moving around near the McChord Air Force Base main gate during the fall months. Please continue to look out for one another and above all take the time to actively consider the risks and how to reduce the risks before heading out.