Put safety first as summer begins Published May 24, 2011 By Terry G. Edwards Director, AFCEE LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- As we approach the Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer the long weekend signifies, it's important we continue to put safety first in our on- and off-duty activities during the Critical Days of Summer. The good news is Air Force mishaps during the summer months have trended downward the past several years. That does not mean, however, we can become complacent in our safety vigilance and develop the mindset, "It can't happen to me," as we go about our daily work and leisure activities. At the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, we're fortunate to have a Safety and Operational Risk Management program that was recognized as "especially well managed" and a team that was designated a "Superior Performer" during the March Unit Compliance Inspection. Steve Gagliano and Rosszella Greer have kept us all safety conscious, and we must maintain that focus in the summer months ahead. You work hard and have good reason to take time off this summer to do the things you enjoy with family and friends. You've earned it, and I encourage you to get away from work to relax and recharge. I enjoy taking my boat out on the lake for some leisure riding and fishing, so I look forward to doing that in the months ahead. I also know, though, there are inherent risks involved in boating, so I ensure I take those risks into consideration and mitigate them as much as possible when I'm out on the water. When we're having fun this summer, we need to recognize when something unsafe is about to happen and stop the activity before a mishap occurs. Reject reckless behavior and ensure you are following the proper safety procedures for your activity. Maintain your wingman mentality and look out for others, especially when alcohol is involved. Look over the safety information provided in the May 18 issue of the Centerpieces and follow the tips and cautions provided. For more information about a variety of summer safety topics, visit the Air Force Safety Center website at www.afsc.af.mil. Have fun this summer, but please do so safely. You're too important to your family, friends and the AFCEE team to be harmed in a mishap that was preventable.