'101 Critical Days' kicks off Memorial Day

  • Published
  • By Mark Munsey
  • 15th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
With Hickam Air Force Base outdoor recreation members launching close to 500 boats annually, base Airmen playing in year-round intramural sports programs, and 360 degrees worth of diverse water activities, one might assume the vigilance required for a 101 Critical Days of Summer program that affects bases in North Dakota wouldn't come into play in Hawaii.

Not so, said Lt. Col. K.C. Parnell, the 15th Airlift Wing safety chief.

"It doesn't matter if you're stationed in North Dakota, Europe or here in paradise," he said. "When Memorial Day hits, preventable mishaps start to spike."

While a major statistical player in Hickam AFB's mishap accumulation are injuries from intramural sports, during the period between Memorial and Labor Day the usual suspects found lurking are alcohol, inattention and overexertion.

During the 101-day period, "family days" extend several three-day weekends into four days off with understandable results, Colonel Parnell said.

"It's a natural reaction to let your guard down," he said. "Entertaining friends in the backyard or enjoying pleasurable outdoor activities with the family is the breeding ground for preventable accidents."

"Many people will schedule multiple activities over the course of a day," the colonel said. "When the body gets worn down, so does response time."

During the summer months, it's not even necessary to venture outside the home to find potential danger, said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Lomas, a 15th Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services fire prevention specialist.

Barbecue safety is all about common sense, he said. Always use approved charcoal lighter fluids and never operate grills within 10 feet of the home or any other building.
And starting with the grills being lit by adults, the status of the cooking should never be in question.

"The adults should always keep an eye on the grill," he said. 

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