Many preventable deaths occur during the summer months, and that doesn't change when it comes to servicemembers and their families. With June recognized as National Safety Month, the Army is encouraging its soldiers and their loved ones to pay particular attention to risky behaviors and be mindful of the inherent dangers that come with spending more time outside during the warmer months of the year, according to the Army's official website.
A personal responsibility
The month-long observance is organized by the National Safety Council, and this year's theme, "Safety Starts With Me" emphasizes that both civilians and soldiers can be proactive at preventing potentially deadly accidents. Specifically, National Safety Month focuses primarily on topics like preventing falls, emergency preparedness and ergonomics. The Army also urged soldiers and their families to be mindful in the car, on their motorcycle or similar devices, as they are the leading cause of death among off-duty soldiers during the summer.
"Private motor vehicles, either two wheeled or four, remain the number one accidental killer of our Soldiers," Command Sgt. Major Richard D. Stidley told the website. "Indiscipline leads to reckless behavior, and reckless behavior in any form when you're driving or riding can be deadly."
Other initiatives abound
National Safety Month is not the only initiative encouraging servicemembers to take care of themselves this summer. The Department of Defense also launched a similar program in May known as the Army Safe Summer campaign. This initiative provides servicemembers with certain materials highlighting the dangers associated with the season. Among its most significant focuses is making sure soldiers know the regulations, guidelines, laws and standards in place to ensure there's no accidents.
"Our campaign products, by design, are meant to help leaders and safety professionals engage their Soldiers, civilians and family members on risk and risk management," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens.
Biggest summer safety hazards
Aside from motor vehicle accidents, there are several other dangers that servicemembers should be on the lookout for during the summer. According to WebMD, fireworks accidents are among the leading causes of injury. In fact, in 2009 an estimated 9,000 people were hurt by fireworks, with two deaths coming as a result. Aside from abiding to local rules and regulations, experts stress the importance of having a hose or fire extinguisher nearby as well as keeping children far away.