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Pope kicks off 101 Critical Days of Summer

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Cammie Quinn
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
Summer--the word evokes memories of sunny days spent lounging in the sun, by the pool while food on the grill permeates the air. The season also brings increased risks and opportunities for reckless behavior. By focusing on safety, however, mishaps and fatalities can be avoided.

The annual 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign kicks off May 28 and lasts through Labor Day. The Air Force recognizes the time period as one which presents safety concerns and challenges to all Airmen. This year's Department of Defense 101 CDS theme is "Live to Play, Play to Live."

"The major focus areas for this year's 101 CDS campaign are Private Motor Vehicle accidents, including alcohol use and DUIs, and sports and recreation accidents," said Lt. Col. Jerry Goff, Chief of the 43rd Airlift Wing, Safety Office. "These two areas usually lead the way in fatalities during the 101 CDS."

To get the message to Airmen about safety throughout the holidays, Pope's Safety Office hosted a 101 CDS demonstration at the Pope Theater, May 26. During the event, Airmen viewed videos and listened to briefings about safety issues regarding vehicle accidents and work issues. Following the activities, actors performed a dramatic portrayal of the dangers and repercussions that arise from a vehicle accident involving the use of alcohol.

The scene involved a traffic accident in which one Airman, under the influence of alcohol, crashed his vehicle into another vehicle, killing one person and injuring two others. The scene opened after Staff Sergeant Mark Nasirali, 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, hit a car carrying three Airmen. Senior Airmen Tamesha Green, 43rd Medical Operations and Brittany Roberts, 43rd Operations Support Squadron, lay in the street injured, as Senior Airmen Jessica Dean, 43rd OSS and Amber Morton, 43rd Legal Office, called for emergency support. While the 43rd Security Forces Squadron administered a field sobriety test to Sergeant Nasirali, the Pope fire department and ambulance service arrived on-scene.

What followed was a haze of fast responders, flashing lights and the Jaws of Life, used to cut off the windshield of the Airmen's car. The demonstration showed Airmen the ramifications of irresponsible driving.

According to Colonel Goff, in 2009, 41 of the 58 Air Force fatalities occurred during the 101 CDS.

"We wanted to provide a visual picture to the accident reports people hear about," Raymond Shupe, 43rd SE, said. "We wanted to give an idea of what happens at an incident scene, to open their eyes and make it real to them."

The event hit the mark, and Airmen were affected by the realistic responses by both the emergency team and victims of the incident.

"I thought it was effective that the actors performed the entire response scene," said Master Sgt. Scott Rogge, 43rd Contracting Squadron. "As a prior security forces member, I have responded to incidents almost identical to those. It makes me think of my family and how these accident would affect them."

The 101 CDS is a time to focus on safety and try to minimize accidents. Over the next few months, continue to focus on using a wingman, taking care of each other, being responsible on and off duty, and assessing action prior to confronting an unsafe situation.