Air Force Chief of Safety Winter Message

  • Published
  • By Maj Gen Wendell L. Griffin
  • AF/SE
While the winter months can be an exciting time of year, they can also be extremely dangerous. As we enter this season, let us be reminded that twenty Airmen lost their lives during the winter months (Dec - Mar) last year and as a result the lives of their families will never be the same!

Winter not only brings low temperatures, fewer hours of daylight, and slippery road conditions, it brings countless circumstances that can have a negative impact on all Airmen. By emphasizing the use of personal risk management in assessing the environment for risk, considering the options to limit risk and taking appropriate action, we can increase the odds of an accident free winter season.

Each year we see examples of Airmen making poor decisions that cost them their lives or the lives of others. Being in a hurry, drinking and driving, not wearing seatbelts, not driving to the road conditions and poor planning are often contributing factors in fatalities. Before traveling, ensure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition, map out your route, know the weather, and get plenty of sleep. Let's not forget that when traveling, temperatures can go from seventy degrees to freezing in a matter of hours - prepare for the conditions.

During winter recreational activities, make sure you have the proper equipment for the activity chosen and ensure that you don't exceed your limits. Don't take chances - follow your instincts and when things don't seem right - they're probably not!

Use sound fire prevention measures. Ensure seasonal decorations, electrical lighting, and smoke detectors are in good condition and that fire extinguishers are readily available. Have your fireplace and furnace inspected before use. By preparing your home in advance for winter and observing safety precautions, you can reduce the risk of potential life threatening situations.

Leaders and supervisors at all levels should get involved and "set the conditions" to ensure their Airmen fully understand the risks of winter and implement proactive measures necessary for success. To sum it up - remain vigilant, don't drink and drive, be prepared for emergencies, and above all else maintain your situational awareness!

Please be safe this winter!