WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2010 — Servicemembers have enough threats to deal with. Adding unsafe off-duty activities to their own load only adds to the stress of military service.
During a “DoD Live” bloggers roundtable yesterday, Navy Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, commander of the Naval Safety Center, discussed the Navy’s most recent safety campaign, which marked record reductions in overall off-duty fatalities.
“We just concluded our summer safety campaign with the conclusion of Labor Day weekend, and the results have been satisfactory,” he said.
Labor Day marked the traditional end of summer for sailors and Marines, and also the end of the Naval Safety Center’s annual summer safety campaign, “Live to Play, Play to Live.”
Although reports for the long weekend are not complete, it appears that both the Navy and Marine Corps enjoyed the safest summer since the center started keeping these statistics, Johnson said.
Fourteen sailors and 14 Marines lost their lives between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Last year, 39 sailors and Marines lost their lives during the same period. The Navy’s goal is zero preventable incidents, Johnson said, but this year’s numbers are “satisfactory” and indicate a positive trend.
“Bottom line, some of the awareness efforts are starting to pay dividends,” he said. “Our sailors are making better decisions and are acquitting themselves better out there in the real world.”
He attributes a big part of the increase to an increased sense of ownership and involvement by sailors and Marines in safety programs. The more servicemembers feel as if they’re a part of safety training, and not just recipients, he said, the more the positive trend will continue.
“We have observed an increase in the safety program by sailors and Marines throughout the fleet,” he said. “We are starting to see some benefits of that increase.”
(April Phillips of the Naval Safety Center contributed to this article.)
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