Stay cool, but safe, during the last days of summer

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Angelic Dolan
  • SMC/PA
With the last days of summer upon us, Airmen and their family members are taking advantage of the water activities that Southern California has to offer. This area is full of activities to enjoy and help us cool down. However, don't forget the 101 Critical Days of Summer and always remember your safety attitude. 

Even organized trips with guides run the risk of injuries. During an organized white-water rafting trip co-led by Los Angeles Air Force Base and Vandenberg AFB, July 21, an adult female dependent from Vandenberg AFB fell out of the raft when it got stuck between two rocks. She broke her upper arm bone during the incident, said Ms. Autumn Baldwin, 61st Mission Support Group programmer for outdoor recreation.
"Safety is paramount when participating in these water activities," Ms. Baldwin said. "Individuals should pay close attention to the safety guidelines, which are given by the lead individual of the organized white-water rafting trips. Individuals should know their personal limits before participating in water activities. There are times when accidents just happen, like the one mentioned above. By tuning-in to safety guidelines, participants will know what to do if an accident should occur."
Many Air Force members and their dependents are killed, or seriously injured, in water activity mishaps every year. The majority of accidents would not have happened if the victims had taken time to learn proper safety procedures.

"It is important to wear safety equipment when participating in water activities. For example, wear personal flotation devices," said Staff Sgt. Michael Evans, 61st Air Base Wing Safety Office. "Most drowning victims would be alive today if they had."

Some simple rules to follow when participating in water activities are know your personal skill level and physical condition. Be a competent swimmer. Wearing a dry- or wetsuit is recommended in rough waters, especially when the water is colder than 70 degrees. Remember to get an accurate local weather forecast.

Lt. Gen. Arthur Lichte, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, re-emphasized the importance of safety practices to all Airmen as we approach the final stretch of the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

"Please take the time to reinforce the Wingman culture of taking care of each other," said General Lichte. "With the actions taken to promote a culture of safety by all Airmen, we can make this 101 Critical Days of Summer the safest in recent memory."

For more information on safety tips, contact the 61 ABW Safety Office, 310-653-5616.