Keep the spotlight on safety

Col. Kurt Lohide
435th Air Base Wing commander

Today we are taking a much needed “time out” to focus on safety. 
Our purpose is to reflect and revisit those tried and true safety
principles we all use everyday to remain alive, healthy and able to
accomplish our missions and care for ourselves and our families.  

The 101 Critical Days of Summer ended on Labor Day, September 5th. It’s
appropriate for us to focus on safety during this period of intense
summer activity.  It’s also important that we review our safety
performance during this period to determine best practices or
deficiencies in our safety programs. However, it’s just as important
that we keep the spotlight on safety, both on and off the job, every
day of the year.  

During this safety day, one area which demands particular attention is
the use of seatbelts. Over the past month we have had a rise in the
number of incidents of people not wearing their seatbelts. This is
unacceptable, for the simple truth is – and we all know this – seat
belts save lives! Study after study over the years has shown that seat
belts are the single most effective safety device in vehicles today.

It is estimated by the US Department of Transportation that if 90
percent of motorists on US roads buckled up, we would prevent an
estimated 5,500 additional fatalities and over 132,000 additional
injuries annually. Child safety seats must also not be forgotten. Used
correctly in passenger cars, they can reduce the risk of death by some
71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.  

These figures back the undeniable truth that seat belts save lives.
Still, unbelievably, we have military members and dependents here in
the Kaiserslautern Military Community who continue to ignore the safety
imperative of using seatbelts – often with tragic results. This has to
stop.  Commanders, supervisors, senior NCOs and COMBAT WINGMAN
need to join forces to get the message out that we will not tolerate
those who don’t use their seatbelts.

So I continue to challenge all of you to make safety, and specifically
seat belt usage, an important and integral part of your lives both on
and off the job. Let’s make doing the right thing and holding ourselves
accountable a way of life.  Take this message with you wherever
you go and be sure to take that extra second or two to strap yourself
and your loved ones in.