Remember safety as temperature rises

  • Published
  • By Col Mike Callan
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Team Vance -- safety is what we're all about at Vance Air Force Base!
I recently returned from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where I hosted the week-long Air Education and Training Command Squadron Commander course, and as we landed back at Vance AFB, one couldn't help but notice that the base is turning green at a wonderful rate -- clear evidence Spring is here!
The temperatures are beginning to climb, the humidity is certainly (at times) on the rise and a warm and friendly look on everyone's face tells me we're all looking forward to the many wonderful things the spring and summer will bring. This optimistic outlook to what the summer has to bring is fantastic but the dangers to our personal safety also begin to increase.
Gen Don Cook, AETC commander, directed we take a "Safety Day" April 8 to allow all of us to take a "deep breath" and focus on some disturbing events that have occurred within the command. These events are easily divided into both ground and flying categories and were the basis for our Safety Day discussions in the base auditorium.
Most of the recent ground mishaps involved either motorcycles or cars -- some involved alcohol, some involved excessive speed and others involved not wearing the necessary safety equipment. I ask everyone to be especially cautious when operating a motor vehicle -- always drive a speed consistent with the conditions (and at times that may mean slowing down well below the posted speed limit) and be prepared for the "unexpected!" Your attention to your vehicle and the conditions (road conditions, adverse weather, density of traffic, etc.) present will make you better prepared to handle anything that may happen. As the Boys Scout motto states -- be prepared!
Flying mishaps continue, and examples of good and bad air discipline were discussed. It bears stating the obvious -- flying our aircraft is inherently a risky business and we all need to understand the 100-percent commitment we must have to maintain and operate our aircraft. Our ability to safely generate more than 300 sorties daily and to fly in a very demanding airspace environment is a credit to the entire team! Please continue to be vigilant in your primary job and how it relates to the overall safety success we've enjoyed in our flying mission.
Finally, some of the command's incidents have involved suicide attempts by Airmen who thought there was "no other way out." I ask that as a valuable member of Team Vance, your vigilance and attention to both your personal well-being and the well-being of your co-workers is essential to preventing such incidents. While many issues (financial, marital, etc.) can trigger one to contemplate taking their own life, I want everyone to know that help is available! Our award-winning teams at life skills, family support, security forces and every commander and supervisor are ready and more than willing to help Team Vance people solve the conditions that may be causing undue stress in their lives! Please let us help!
Enjoy the warmer weekends to come and please dedicate yourself to do things safely! Our mission depends on your well-being!