The Air Force currently is in the middle of its "One Hundred Critical Days of Summer" campaign, an effort that is well worth emulating on the civilian side.
Now that the weather has finally started to look like late spring and early summer (summer officially begins next Monday), both adults and children are starting to enjoy summer vacations and recreational opportunities in the area. And unfortunately, that means this newspaper will start covering more than one tragedy between now and next fall as people find innovative ways to kill or seriously injure themselves.
It seems silly to have to remind people, but summer is a time to think safety first.
You can start right here in town. There's a lot of kids out running around enjoying summer vacation right now, and they don't always use a crosswalk or look when they rush across a street. Drivers need to keep an extra sharp watch out for children, and parents need to spend just a couple minutes stressing the basic safety rules with their kids. That one tiny lecture might save their life.
A lot of people enjoy getting in their boats and heading out onto the water. If you're the "captain" of that boat, make sure it's not overloaded and insist that everyone aboard wear a life preserver. It doesn't take much, just one tiny mistake, and we can wind up reporting on a tragic drowning. If you're the captain, be a responsible one.
And don't let little kids, no matter how much they want to, go four-wheeling around the hills in ATVs. They may do fine with the vehicle in your driveway, but that's not the same as negotiating a trail in the mountains. One big rock, a turn taken too fast or a low hanging limb is all it takes to wind up waiting for a LifeFlight helicopter. Let the kids grow up first before they start risking their necks.
Finally, all the grasses that grew during the spring rains are going to be rapidly drying out. It won't take long for the mountains and prairies to turn into tinderboxes. So be especially careful with fire, or anything that could spark a blaze. Besides all the damage to lands and property, and the threat to lives, any fire you start you can be held financially responsible for. A hot muffler in the desert, an unattended campfire, a firecracker or a cigarette butt carelessly tossed aside could cost you a fortune. Think fire safety at all times.
It's time to take a page from the Air Force. Think safety first, all summer long. We really don't want to see your name in the paper because you've been part of a tragedy.
Let's try and make this the safest summer on record in Elmore County.