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NEWS | July 10, 2017

Have safe summer vacations with planning, risk management

By Airman Dillon Parker 502nd Air Base Wing

Summertime means vacation and travel for many service members and their families, but enjoyable road trips can turn unpleasant or even deadly without proper planning and risk management.

Tech. Sgt. Michael Evans, 502nd Air Base Wing NCO in charge of the safety office, echoed this sentiment and imparted some tips to stay safe while taking a vacation.

“It’s very important to plan properly for your trip,” Evans said. “The main thing is to make sure your vehicle is good to go to keep you out of dangerous situations.”

Travelers should make sure all fluids are where they’re supposed to be and, most importantly, that tires have proper inflation and tread, Evans added.

Tire failure contributed to 43.3 percent of crashes in the United States between 2005 and 2007, according to the Air Force Safety Center.

Another important aspect of preparing a vehicle for travel is to stock a safety kit.

“You just never know when that might come in handy,” Evans said. “Spare tire; reflective cones and vest; flashlights and batteries — they’re all very important when you’re planning a trip.”

While preparing a vehicle is important, it’s also important for travelers themselves to be prepared.

“You want to make sure you get enough rest before you take off,” Evans explained. “Don’t work a full eight hours then turn around and expect to drive 10 hours; fatigue is a pretty common cause of accidents.”

Ensuring proper rest before the trip is not enough to ward off fatigue completely.

“You definitely should plan stops every two hours or so to stretch and rest,” said Evans, adding that it’s important not to drive more than six to eight hours in one day.

There are also safety habits people should employ while at hotels during longer trips.

“Secure your belongings in your room; most hotels provide safes,” Evans said. “Make sure your door is secure and just be mindful of your surroundings.”

The National Crime Prevention Council advises vacationers to carry travelers’ checks instead of cash and to record information of valuables taken on their trip. Travelers should also learn about their vacation destinations before they arrive to include knowing what sites they want to visit and how to get there using a safe, well-traveled route.

Before leaving for a trip, there are various safety techniques people can employ to ensure their home is secure and safe while they are gone.

It’s important to lock all windows and doors and lean on a friend or neighbor, Evans suggested.

“Make sure you have someone you trust watching over your home and reporting any suspicious activity,” Evans said.

Evans conveyed one last piece of advice, “In risk management we have this acronym called ACT."

ACT stands for, assess the situation, consider the options, and take the appropriate actions, said Evans. ACT can be used to minimize the risk when dangerous situations arise.

For more information on occupational safety during the summer season, contact a local safety office at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-4543; JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-5028; and JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-1843.