When it comes to safety, remember the three "Ds"

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Shawn Moore
  • 312th Training Squadron commander
With the 101 Critical Days of Summer upon us and the recent severe weather throughout our part of the country, safety should be on everyone's mind. I feel obliged to share a few basic thoughts on safety that might prove useful.

These  are by no means earth-shattering concepts, but rather simple philosophical safety categories passed on to me from a former commander that have stood the test of time in helping steer my family, my fellow Airmen, and me clear of harm.

They are referred to simply as the three "Ds" - dumb, dangerous and different. I regularly stress these three "Ds" to my squadron as safety truths to be held self-evident. No matter what the circumstance or activity, it's merely a matter of recognizing and simplistically categorizing what's involved, planning to minimize or negate risks and taking (or not taking) action accordingly.

First there's dumb. Not meaning to insult anyone's intelligence, but this word is intentionally chosen to remind us that there are some things that just simply should never be attempted. Driving under the influence is one that should immediately register as such, with boating under the influence considered in the same manner. Another "D" are the completely incomprehensible unsafe actions voluntarily taken by humans that resulted in fatal or seriously injured consequences - these speak for themselves. Recognize and avoid the dumb.

Next is dangerous.  I'm all for having a dangerous job, going parachuting and pursuing other potentially dangerous hobbies, but only once I've been appropriately trained and know I'm fully prepared to successfully conquer what's involved.

Also, the summer season exposes us to many natural hazards such as flash floods and tornados with potentially disastrous affects. Training and discipline are the hallmarks of safety preparedness and serve as excellent tools for us to utilize in practicing to handle dangerous situations. Seeking out and heeding weather warnings, identifying and knowing physically safe areas where you work and live, maintaining ample stores of emergency food and water, and practicing appropriate drills are all vital preparations before any natural disaster occurs.

One final dangerous example that is not often considered as such but has tremendous fatal consequences is driving while exhausted. Unfortunately, numerous Americans perish each year as a result of falling asleep at the wheel while driving on long permanent change of station or leave journeys. 

Last, but just as equally significant as the other two "Ds," is different. Whenever venturing outside our everyday or familiar routines or activities, we shouldn't become complacent and let our guard down assuming there are no safety risks involved. For example, knowing how to safely ride a smaller engine motorcycle doesn't equate to instant success in knowing how to safely ride a larger engine motorcycle. Therefore, appropriate training is of the utmost importance to practice and demonstrate capability to handle the increased power. 

Lastly, change of fitness routine or participation in an unfamiliar athletic event could pose dangerous consequences that we otherwise might not recognize as apparent.

Do your research in learning about what's involved, stretch and get the appropriate gear. For anyone considering running in a marathon this year that may or may not have run one before, you need to start appropriate training now.

Obviously, this short commentary only scratched the surface of the numerous kinds of situations we encounter either by choice or circumstance that we have to make safety minded decisions on.

Hopefully these three "Ds" struck a cord in your own recognition and categorization of risks and how to best address and prepare for your own safety and that of others. In fact I challenge everyone to add more "Ds" in adopting this and taking ownership of your personal safety.

Safety is a culture and relies upon everyone to stay on their game. Don't fall prey to being a victim of your own doing - you are far too important and smart to leave safety to chance.