Keesler kicks off winter safety campaign

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Smiley
  • 81st Training Wing ground safety
It's party time! From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, the holiday celebrations are happening everywhere. We all think of this time as one of the most joyful seasons, but it's also the time to pay greater attention to safety. During the past two holiday campaign seasons, there were eight fatalities Air Force-wide and 75 percent of those involved personal vehicles.

In planning your festivities during the Winter Safety campaign, Nov. 22-Jan. 2, consider and prepare for all hazards. To prevent injury to yourself and others and to avoid property damage, follow these guidelines during the holiday season. The 81st Training Wing Safety Office wants you to enjoy this time of year and see you back to work-- Safe 'n Sound.

1. Traffic safety: Preparations for travel and double-checking for changing weather conditions will mitigate many of the problems you might encounter. All vehicles should be ready for winter weather, including all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles. Check your tires, brakes, fluids and lights for serviceability. When planning for long trips, use the CAC-enabled TRiPS website. This tool is great for planning and providing peace of mind for both you and your supervisor. Fatigue is also a common hazard during this time of year. With all of the parties, dinners and celebrations hosted by your squadrons and friends, it is easy to lose focus on safety. Ask yourself if you have had enough sleep before you get behind the wheel. Maybe asking your wingman to crash on a couch is a better idea than driving home. Another hazard on the road during the winter months is black ice. A way to combat this hazard is to slow down and keep your aware of locations where black ice may occur. If you go into a skid, do not slam onto your brakes -- tap the pedal lightly. Also, maintaining a safe following distance can minimize major vehicle accidents.

2. Holiday celebration safety: Decorations are the key to a joyful season. When displaying your colorful holiday materials, use a ladder or step stool properly. Don't overreach and make sure you have someone hold the ladder. Double check your lights for frayed wires, broken sockets and loose connections. Don't mount lights that might cause damage to cords. Use hooks or insulated staples. Keep breakable ornaments out of reach from pets and children. If you are putting up a live Christmas tree, be sure to water it regularly. Keep candles away from combustible material. Beware of poisonous plants such as poinsettias that are dangerous when eaten by pets and humans. If you are hosting a party this holiday season, take into account the food you are serving your guests. Ensure guests that have allergies know what is in the food. Make sure you cook and store the food properly to prevent food poisoning. Include non-alcoholic beverages and remind your guests to have a designated driver or have taxi numbers available.

3. Winter activities: Enthusiasts of winter sports, both outdoor and indoor, are getting ready for skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, basketball, ice hockey and snowmobiling. Unfortunately, the Gulf Coast doesn't see much snow, but there are still many activities available to you in the local area during the winter months. The key to injury prevention is to be physically prepared and have the proper personal protective equipment for whatever activity you plan to undertake. Dress properly and check the weather before heading outdoors. Pay attention to warnings about storms and severe temperature drops. Always conduct a warm up before your activity in order to prevent muscle, tendon and ligament injuries. Lastly, drink lots of water before, during and after your activities.

So much can happen during the next few months and much can be done in preparation to prevent injuries and accidents. The 81st Training Wing Safety Office asks that you use personal risk management during the winter safety campaign, so we all return from holiday celebrations Safe 'n Sound.