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Planning a safe winter holiday season

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Although Keesler Air Force Base generally isn’t impacted by winter weather, as many members of Team Keesler travel, celebrate and decorate during the holiday season, it’s important to be aware of the possible risks the holiday season may bring with it.

The 81st Training Wing Safety Office has a few tips for travel, decorating and general holiday safety:

Pre-departure safety briefing/high risk activities:

  • Personnel under the age of 26 are required to have a pre-departure safety briefing and fill out an AETC Form 29B

  • Any individuals planning on participating in high risk activities, as deemed by their commander, must have an AF Form 410 completed and signed by their commander prior to departing for that activity

General holiday safety:

  • Make an emergency plan to use in case a fire breaks out anywhere in the home during cooking or decorating

  • Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children

  • Keep natural trees watered and never burn candles near them. When dry, evergreens can catch fire from the heat of light bulbs. When on fire, they burn like tinder and can flare out of control quickly

  • When using a ladder, make sure it’s in proper working order. Don’t pull, lean or stretch to reach that last pesky decoration, and make sure the ladder is setting on a safe, firm and level area

Winter driving:

  • Understand how your car handles in adverse weather and take your time driving. It’s better to show up a little late for an event than not show up at all

  • Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as brakes, spark plugs, battery and tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for a tune-up

  • Clear the snow from your vehicles’ roof, hood and trunk and ensure windows, mirrors and lights are free of snow and ice

  • Be aware of areas where black ice can develop, like shady spots and bridges

  • Be sure to buckle up and keep a safe distance, at least five seconds, behind other vehicles and snow plows

  • Keep an emergency winter-driving kit in your car. Blankets, a first aid kit, water, food, flashlights and reflective triangles make a good starter kit

  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you are too tired to drive, stop and rest

Air travel:

  • Keep valuables in your carry-on luggage

  • Put your contact information on the inside and outside of your luggage and immediately report all lost luggage

  • Pay attention to the pre-flight briefing, which offers valuable safety information

  • If possible, fly nonstop. Most accidents occur during take-off and landing

Holiday celebrations: (AADD 228-377-7283)

  • Being a smart party host or guest should include being sensible about alcoholic drinks. Use designated drivers to drive other guests home after a holiday party or allow them to sleep at your house

  • The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can’t avoid stress completely but you can manage it by allowing enough time to shop, cook or complete errands

Remember to have a safe holiday season and practice risk management both on and off duty. Make safe planning part of your celebrations and travel and enjoy the winter holiday!