NEWS | Dec. 23, 2020

SMA Grinston: Holiday Safety Message

- Safety Message -

The holidays are upon us. This is one of our most anticipated times of year, and by now many of you have plans for block leave. Between now and your pass, I want you to think about safety and risk management.
 
The holidays are the most deadly time period for Soldiers other than summer. Summer 2020 was one of the safest ever, most likely due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. That, however, has translated to one of the worst first quarters in recent memory, with 18 off-duty fatalities to date in FY21.
 
This is a huge concern as we enter the block leave period. The Army loses an average of 11 Soldiers to off-duty mishaps every exodus, year after year. The overwhelming majority of these fatalities occur in private motor vehicles and often involve alcohol and speeding. We know better and can do better than this.
 
If you’re traveling outside the local area for the holidays, make a plan. Get adequate rest to make the drive, stop often to refresh, and break up long trips over multiple days. Your destination will still be there, and most importantly, so will you.
 
Continue to practice COVID-mitigation techniques as well. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and limit your time around people “outside of your bubble.” Going out to bars and restaurants increase your risk of exposure. Even inviting people to your home or going to a friend’s house can expose you to the virus. Instead, find creative ways to spend time with those you care about. 
 
If you do drink, don’t handle firearms or other dangerous equipment. The past five years, every Soldier killed by negligent discharge during the holidays was drinking.
 
We are Soldiers, we know and follow the standards 24/7. We are leaders, and we take care of our people 24/7. Safety is the most precious gift we can give this holiday season. Visit https://safety.army.mil/MEDIA/Seasonal-Safety-Campaigns/Fall-Winter-Safety-2020 for risk management tools and information before your leave begins.
 
PEOPLE FIRST! ARMY STRONG!

SMA