With summer's last hurrah, the Labor Day weekend, the 101 Critical Days of Summer where mishaps are at their highest have come to a close.
The 101 Critical Days of Summer, which run from roughly Memorial Day until Labor Day, have unfortunately produced a number of mishaps Navy-wide. According to the Naval Safety Center, summer 2012 has had more fatalities due to mishaps than 2011. These incidents run the gamut from drownings to motorcycle accidents.
Because of the high level of recreational activity, the summer is always a potentially dangerous time. According to Jim Peake, the safety installation program director for Naval Support Activity Washington, people tend to forget some common sense safety information when the warmer months roll around.
"During the summer months, when we feel jolly and sometimes us older people want to feel young again, you're going out and doing things that you haven't done in six, seven, eight months and you might not use your basic safety practices," said Peake.
Just because the summer is coming to a close, however, does not mean that the danger of mishaps ever truly dissipates. Although the weather will get colder and people will be spending less time outside, everyone should still remain vigilant.
"The potential [for accidents] is and always will be present due to the human or mechanical factor," said Peake. "For example, 'the human factor': A call comes in that an individual has fallen into a manhole. Upon mishap investigation the individual was texting and walking and did not see the open manhole. This actually happened on the Washington Navy Yard (WNY). The mechanical can be due to malfunction in the operation of a machine (belt breaking, fluids, and etcetera)."
Peake referenced the importance of always being wary of safety risks, especially when it comes to children. He cited the changing weather and visibility concerns as being particularly notable, especially now that the school year has begun.
"One of the keys going into fall and winter is child and pedestrian safety," said Peake. "The daylight hours are reduced, thus personnel are traveling to work in the darkness. This reduced visibility increases the chances of a mishap due to operators not being able to respond to a driving situation that might involve seeing a pedestrian in the crosswalk in time."
The changing weather will also bring about something that the region has not seen for some time: snow and ice. Slips and falls cause a number of serious injuries each year during the winter months, so being cautious while traversing any terrain is absolutely essential.
"Personnel need to use caution during this period due to the melting and refreezing of snow and ice," said Peake. "Usually, our mishaps happen during the twilight hours of the morning commute."
Also, spending more time indoors may lead some to be spending more time consuming alcohol. It is a year-round need to monitor alcohol consumption, and that need can be fulfilled by following the Navy's "0-1-2" or "0-0-1-3" guidance on how much one should drink and who should or should not be drinking at all. Remember especially that drinking and driving can cost someone much more than their Navy career; it can also cost them their life.
If everyone takes necessary precautions and stays safety-minded as the fall months quickly approach, mishaps can be dramatically reduced. Let the 101 Critical Days of Summer serve as a reminder that accidents can happen to anyone if they are not vigilant, no matter what time of year it is.
For more information on safety practices, please visit the Naval Safety Center website at http://safetycenter.navy.mil.