Summer safety

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Paul Contoveros
  • 21st Space Wing Safety
I know. You’re probably thinking something like, “Oh, great. Another summer safety brief. Bo-ring. I’ll just skip on by and see if there’s anything else worth reading in the paper.” Right? Come on, admit it…you know you don’t want to hear, again, about all the things you need to do to be safe this summer. “I get it”, you say to yourself as you audibly roll your eyes. “I’ll wear my seatbelt, hydrate, use sunscreen and won’t drink and drive. Boom. Just gave myself a safety brief.”

To that, I say: nice work! You’re right, you should make sure to do all of those things. It’d be a boneheaded move to do otherwise. But, I’ll bet there are a few things you haven’t considered, especially if you’re new to Colorado. For example, did you know you can ward off a Mountain Lion simply by wearing Axe Body Spray? It’s true. Sort of. Okay…it’s not true. But it feels like it should be true. I mean, who wears that stuff?

Anyway, there really are some things you should think about as you go out to enjoy this beautiful state. And though Axe isn’t one of them, here are a few tips that are legit. Seriously.

Hiking. Do it! But for goodness sake, don’t hike alone. And if you must, make sure you tell someone where you’re going. In fact, even if you are hiking with a partner, tell someone else where you plan to hike. I’m not kidding. Do you have any idea how many people get lost or injured while hiking in Colorado? It’s a lot. I don’t have the exact numbers, but it’s got to be like 250 million a year. Or something like that. Anyway, if you want to have any chance of being rescued should an accident happen, you’ve got to tell someone where you’re going and the route you’re taking! Next, and I know you’re not going to believe this, you need to pack warm, dry clothes. The weather changes its mind more often than the Browns change quarterbacks. It could be sunny and delightful one minute and then the monsoon kicks in--before you know it the temperature has dropped 20 degrees, it’s raining, it’s hailing, and lightning is striking. Bring the right gear. And just a hint: when you see dark clouds rolling in, get off the mountain or seek shelter (not under a tall pine tree/lightning rod) as fast as your legs will take you. Please.

Motorcycles. Two wheel death traps, if you ask me. But my cool friends tell me I’m lame and biking is awesome. I’ll have to take them at their word; so, rather than trying to convince you not to get on one of those things, allow me to spread some wisdom. First, wear your protective gear. I have to say it. I’m the Chief of Safety. I think it’s in the Constitution or something. Next, be aware of loose gravel on the roads, especially on corners. You see, instead of throwing down salt to melt ice during the winter (like any normal state would do), Colorado spreads gravel all over the roads. It’s like they want you bikers to spill. So for goodness sake, keep your eyes on the road, slow down on curves, and heads-up at intersections. Finally, keep your head on a swivel for potholes. They will swallow you whole and you’ll never be seen again. For true. In fact, I’m pretty sure some potholes are gateways to alternate dimensions. Steer clear.

High risk activities. When you reach my age that means walking down the stairs with a plate full of food. But for you youngsters and thrill seekers out there, I know you’re going to want to jump out of airplanes, scramble the boulders of the back country, test your mettle against the Alpha Warrior rig and heaven knows what else. If you are so inclined, I ask that you please, please remind yourself that gravity is the law. Also: be prepared; wear the right gear; get familiar with the location/equipment prior to partaking; let you supervisor know what you’re up to. And if you have any doubts as to whether you have the ability to do the crazy thing you’re about to do…stop! Are you nuts? Don’t do it! We need you. Honestly, we really do.

With that, let me just say that I’m wishing you a happy and safe summer. Colorado is amazing. Take advantage of it. If there’s anything the Safety Office can do to help, just holla.