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Summer kicks off with safety reminders, family focus

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
After a long weekend that marks the traditional kick off to our annual "Critical Days of Summer" campaign, I'm pleased to report that we "arrived alive" with no fatalities. We did, however, suffer some motorcycle related injuries, which reminds us that we must always stay vigilant when we are on the road.

This year's summer safety campaign centers on motorcycle safety because the Air Force has seen a recent increase in motorcycle fatalities. From January to March 2011, there have been five fatal mishaps and one permanent total disability.

Our goal is to have zero preventable motorcycle mishaps or fatalities, and we need everyone's involvement in this effort. We will continue to sponsor wing-level activities that foster positive riding attitudes, behaviors and build necessary riding experience.

Once we got safely through the tornadic weather conditions, we ended up with a gorgeous Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in the 90s. It was perfect for our Memorial Day activities, although there were reports of some minor heat related injuries throughout the area.

Many times we go about our activities not remembering to watch for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. If you're feeling weak or confused, dizzy, or have nausea and headaches, you could be experiencing heat exhaustion and the best thing to do is get out of the heat and rest. Drink water or other fluids (not soda, caffeine or alcohol) and if you don't feel better in 30 minutes, you should see a doctor. Heatstroke is much more serious and could cause organ and brain damage, or death, so seek assistance if you have a high fever (104F), severe headache, flushed or red appearance to the skin, lack of sweating, muscle weakness or cramps, or seizures. We all need to be alert and take preventative measures so we can keep enjoying the many summer activities ahead.

And speaking of summer activities, we have many events I wish to bring to your attention so we can ensure max participation. We start this weekend with the USO Mud Run and Base Yard Sale on Saturday, 4 June and the Band of Mid-America "Summer Concert Series" begins Sunday, 5 June. Next week Team Scott organizations will open their doors to Scott residents, workers, and their families (ID card holders) to educate them about the many different missions at Scott AFB during the base's first ever Homecoming Week.

Homecoming Week is a way to foster "inside the wire" relationships and at the same time, create a stronger base community network that can provide the best care for our military members and their families. More than a dozen organizations on base will open their doors June 6-8 for tours and demonstrations. Participating units are listed in this week's paper.
The wing is also having its quarterly training day on June 9 and as part of that training we're hosting a town hall meeting to brief parents on local drug trends and provide some tips that will help parents recognize potential use/abuse by their children. Guest speakers from Mascoutah, O'Fallon, and Belleville Police Departments will also be speaking on specific trends in local high schools. The event is set for 5:30 p.m. at the base theater.

And, then on June 10 is the annual family picnic hosted by the 375th Force Support Squadron, which is always a fun event for everyone. Channel 4 news will be airing segments about Scott AFB on its various morning, noon and evening programs throughout the week, and will conclude its "On the Road" series with a live broadcast from Scott AFB that day. They'll be set up over at Transportation Plaza (the area in next to U.S. Transportation Command headquarters) all day, so feel free to walk over and say hi to them as several of their news personalities will be out visiting with us.

The very next day, June 11, the city of O'Fallon, the village of Shiloh and the O'Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee will also host its 17th annual "Salute to Scott" picnic at the O'Fallon Park where Team Scott families are honored for their service to the nation. A number of family activities are planned to include a visit by Radio Disney, and the making and eating of the area's largest banana split!

So break out the sunscreen, stay hydrated, and integrate safety practices in everything you do. It promises to be an exciting and event-filled week! I'll see you out there!