REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Soldiers and their families enjoy many activities during the summer, ranging from swimming to partying with friends. While having fun, it’s important to be alert and cautious as the 101 Critical Days of Summer begin.
The 101 Critical Days of Summer is historically the largest vacation period of the year for military members. It begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. These 101 days see an increase in incidents among Soldiers so it is best to stay vigilant and alert while having summer fun.
“While it’s good to let loose and have fun, it’s highly important to stay alert and aware of the risks that come with common summertime activities,” said Bobby Taylor, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command safety manager. “Taking precautions will help to alleviate risks to Soldiers and their families as best they can.”
Swimming, boating, grilling, and playing with fireworks are just a few of the common summer activities that have the potential for accidents.
“Always know your limits,” Taylor said. “Never swim alone and always keep an eye on children when water is nearby.”
Many boating incidents are caused by alcohol and not wearing a life jacket, Taylor said. He recommends always wearing a life jacket and skipping the drinks when operating a boat.
Grill-related injuries account for nearly 20,000 people going to the ER each year. July sees the largest amount of grill fires out of any other month in the year.
“Cleaning and maintaining your grill can help mitigate the risk of grill fires,” Taylor said. “Make sure to regularly check gas source and its parts and always turn off the gas at the source before inspecting its parts.”
Playing with fireworks can be fun and nice to watch, but they bring a high accidental risk.
“If you plan to use fireworks, pick a flat, wide area away from structures or flammable objects, and light them one at a time. Be a safe distance away after lighting the fireworks,” said Taylor.
With humidity and high temperatures, heat illness is a major concern. Remember to stay hydrated and replace the body’s salts and minerals, Taylor said.
“Pay close attention to those who are at a higher risk for heat illnesses, like kids and the elderly,” Taylor said. “If you are also experience cramps while conducting physical activity, wait until they go away before continuing.”
People should also limit midday exposure to the sun and wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect from sun damage.
Many people consume alcohol while relaxing and having fun, but it is best to not do so while performing these common summertime activities.
“Most of these activities, like using fireworks or boating, require an alert mind so do not drink when performing these activities,” Taylor said. “Leave the drinking for when you are relaxing and drink responsibly.”