SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
As the days lengthen, Schriever Airmen are likely to find themselves exploring Colorado’s natural wonders; however, while having fun in the sun, it is important to be aware of possible summer hazards and proper safety procedures.
Staff Sgt. Robert Cook, 50th Space Wing safety office occupational safety noncommissioned officer in charge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, said it is important to be aware of the dangers posed by the sun during the summer.
“You always want to wear sunscreen when you’re outside,” Cook said. “Even when you’re inside your vehicle or there is an overcast, the sun’s rays can be extremely harmful.”
Juli Yim, 50th Force Support Squadron director of outdoor recreation, said the sun is one of the primary safety hazards during the summer and can be the cause of many injuries.
“Sun-related injuries such as heatstroke, heat cramps and sunburn are very prevalent during the summer,” Yim said. “It is important for people to remember to hydrate and to limit their exposure to the sun.”
Cook also said to do research before beginning any outdoor activity.
“If you’re going white-water rafting, going down rapids with rocks below, you’re going to want to wear a helmet and a life jacket,” Cook said. “You’re going to want to wear some sort of foot protection and check the raft you’re using so you don’t sink. Make sure you have the right paddles. It’s fun to go out on a limb and do something new and exciting, but you have to make sure you’re able to come back safely. This goes with any activity, always do extensive research.”
Besides the dangers posed by the sun and high-risk activities, Cook said driving during the summer can also be dangerous, sometimes even lethal.
“Colorado is a big state for motorcycle riders,” he said. “When the weather warms up, more motorcyclists are out. Make sure when you’re driving to look closely, check your blind spots and pay close attention to who’s on the road with you.”
In Colorado, motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets; however, all Airmen are required to wear one, per AFI 91-207.
Yim said to be aware of impaired drivers.
“Drinking and driving is an issue year-round; however, it seems to be even more prevalent around holidays like (Independence Day),” she said. “Just make sure to be responsible. No one wants to spend an evening in the hospital or maybe even jail.”
Base personnel are encouraged to seek alternate transportation through resources such as Airmen Against Drunk Driving.
Cook also encouraged Airmen to be aware of possible dangers posed by wildlife.
“It’s important to be aware of what's around you,” Cook said. “Whether that be mountain lions when hiking or pronghorn when driving, you have to keep your head on a swivel.”
Yim said the importance of safety cannot be stressed enough.
“Safety ensures people are able to operate in their mission essential jobs on base,” she said.
Cook said before participating in any high-risk activity, it is extremely important to consider any possible outcome.
“Before you do something, take a step back and imagine the bigger picture,” Cook said. “Think about what you’re doing as if your young child were to do it. In the end it’s about making sure we can come into work on time and make it home to our families.”
For more information about summer safety, contact your unit safety representative.