USACRC launches annual Off-Duty Safety Awareness Presentation

By Jenny Stripling, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, Communications and Public AffairsMarch 24, 2021

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FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 24, 2021) – With the arrival of spring and summer already knocking at the door, the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center is launching its annual Off-Duty Safety Awareness Presentation, a tool intended to make Soldiers aware of the hazards they may face during the upcoming months.

While Army accidental fatalities have gradually decreased over the past decade, officials say there is one area in particular that continues to be problematic.

“Off-duty mishap prevention continues to be a challenge and leaders have met that challenge head on, as evident by the decade long decline of accidental fatalities,” said Tracey Russell, safety occupational health specialist, USACRC Ground Directorate. “However, there’s still work to do.”

Themed “Live to Play Another Day,” this year’s ODSAP contains materials and statistics that highlight the role of safety in off-duty activities. It addresses risky behaviors and emphasizes the often-deadly consequences fatigue, alcohol use and indiscipline, to name a few.

“During the last five years, we’ve lost an average of 86 Soldiers each year in off-duty mishaps” said U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center’s Command Sgt. Maj. Lew Gardner. “That is tragic, and summer is the deadliest time of year for accidents in our Army. Junior leaders have the greatest influence on their Soldier’s behavior, and they should use the ODSAP as a tool to help their units and organizations navigate the risks of off-duty activities.”

The package features embedded videos to highlight the potential hazards associated with activities such as driving, handling weapons, and other recreational activities. The presentation is a complete briefing kit, including speaker notes, and leaders have the option to tailor the information to reflect trends specific to their formations.

“Junior leaders play a critical role in mishap prevention, perhaps the greatest role,” said Brig. Gen. Andy Hilmes, commanding general of the USACRC. “With this presentation, our goal is for junior leaders to connect with their Soldiers to help them recognize off-duty hazards they may face. Awareness is a key component in reducing accidental loss and if Soldiers are aware of the off-duty hazards they face, they can become part of the solution in preventing the next mishap or loss of life. Soldier safety is all about good decisions.”

Off-duty safety awareness must be coupled with the five-step risk management process. The ODSAP is updated each year based on Army wide mishap data and trend analysis.

“We develop the ODSAP with squad leaders in mind, as they have an incredible influence on their Soldier’s safety and wellbeing,” said Gardner. “We want them to use the presentation and talking points as a starting point for a life-saving discussion with their teams.”

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