Summer is the longest vacation period of the year, with an increase in people out enjoying sunshine and warm weather, swimming, boating, and traveling - there’s a lot going on for Soldiers and their families between May and September.
Unfortunately, spring and summer are the deadliest times of year for Army mishaps, both on and off duty. From FY18 to FY22, the Army lost an average of 81 Soldiers each year in off-duty mishaps. That’s over three times the number of Soldiers lost to on-duty mishaps, and it’s a devastating loss to our Army. To mitigate risk and heighten awareness, the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center has released a seasonal communications campaign to help augment safety programs units already have in place.
“We’ve entered the deadliest time of year (May through September) as our Soldiers, Civilians and family members tend to travel and spend more time outdoors,” said Brig. Gen. Gene Meredith, commanding general, USACRC. “This campaign is a valuable addition to risk management toolkits for leaders, safety professionals and individual Soldiers. Between additional training time on duty and more leisure travel off duty, the Army’s risk profile naturally rises with the temperature between winter, the start of spring and throughout summer.”
Many fatal mishaps occur in vehicles, holding true for both on and off duty. This year’s heat illness/summer safety campaign products address this and many other topics, designed to complement the updated 2023 Off Duty Safety Awareness Presentation, to be released later in May. The theme for this year’s ODSAP presentation and summer campaign is “Avoid REAPER-cussions.” Products and tools will be available on the USACRC website and include real-world articles from the field, posters, videos and more.
“Getting these messages out now reminds Soldiers of the risks before they have a chance to encounter them,” said USACRC Command Sgt. Maj. James Light. “It’s a proactive way to ensure safety doesn’t get lost in the rush to enjoy off-duty time. Leaders have a personal responsibility to be a positive role models,” he said. “They should live safety, not just talk about it. These campaigns are our effort to make everyone aware of the hazards and enable informed decision-making regardless of activity.”
The heat illness/summer safety campaign is available at https://safety.army.mil/summer-safety. Additional materials will be added periodically to the campaign site through August at https://safety.army.mil.