Ending the summer strong

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With more than a month left in the South Dakota summer, there are a wide variety of outdoor activities that Airmen, family members and civilians can still safely participate in.

"Airmen are ultimately responsible for their own wellbeing," said Tech. Sgt. Erich Basler, 28th Bomb Wing ground safety NCO in charge of Safety Programs. "If Airmen keep safety in mind, they can participate in summer activities without falling victim to an accident or a mishap."

During this summer alone, Ellsworth has seen more than 38 sports and recreational incidents and 53 other off-duty injuries.

In addition, 81 percent of all Air Force non-combat fatalities in 2012 happened over summer, resulting in the death of more than 80 service members in motor vehicle accidents including motorcycles and four wheelers.

Lt. Col. Jaime Hernandez, 28th Bomb Wing chief of safety, said the majority of base mishaps during the summer are from sprains and strains.

"Airman participating in sports and recreational activities need to utilize proper risk management principles," Hernandez emphasized. "That means analyzing the situation, knowing your limits, and taking proper risk mitigation measures such as wearing personal protective equipment, ensuring you stay hydrated, and properly stretching prior to participating in strenuous activity."

In an effort to end this summer strong, the Ellsworth safety office has provided mishap safety and prevention information below:

Bicycle Safety

Each year, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms, and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries.

· Never ride with headphones | Continually scan the road | Use hand signals
· Make eye contact with vehicle drivers | Never ride against traffic | Watch for road hazards
· Use lights at night | Wear reflective clothing | Follow lane markings
· Obey traffic signs and signals | Always wear a helmet | Keep both hands ready to brake
· Keep your bike in tip-top shape | Inspect bike before every ride | Stay focused and stay alert
· Take your bicycle to the shop for pre-season maintenance | Don't drink and bike
· Only ride on trails suited for your ability and bike | Always have proper inflation in your tires

Sports Safety

· Get a pre-season physical exam | Maintain proper fitness | Hydrate early and often
· Know your limitations | Make sure to wear all proper protective equipment
· Ensure you are physically able to play | Warm up and stretch before playing any sport

Driving Safety

· Follow the speed limit | Obey the rules of the road| Don't drink and drive
· Don't drive distracted| Get proper rest prior to driving | Practice defensive driving techniques
· Be aware of weather conditions| Safety check your vehicle| Maintain an emergency kit


· Avoid swift-moving water | Test water depth before diving| Observe warning signs
· If caught in a current, swim with it | Angle towards shore/edge of current
· Always swim with a partner | Only allow young children to swim with adult supervision
· Never swim when tired, under the influence of alcohol or drugs
· Know your swimming limitations | Stay out of the water during severe weather

Off-Road Vehicle Safety

· Take a hands-on training course | Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
· Only drive on paved roads when properly equipped| Always wear an approved helmet
· Individuals under the age of 16 should not ride adult ATVs


· Stand up-wind when lighting the fire | Never leave grill unattended|Properly maintain your grill
· Place grill in well-ventilated area | Wear fitted clothing | Don't use flammable liquids on open flame

Heat Injuries

· Stay in the shade as much as possible| Let your body adapt to the heat
· Hydrate with water or sports drink before and during exercise| Use protective sunscreen
· Avoid exercising during hottest part of the day| Wear light and loose clothing

"Most of these mishaps are preventable with risk management," Basler added. "I encourage Airmen to enjoy the summer season, but also stay diligent when it comes to safety. That way we can all come back to work and accomplish the mission."