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Most Team Lee members will enjoy an extra day or two off this weekend, thanks to the national observance of Columbus Day. The holiday commemorates the discovery of the New World as well as the spirit of exploration. On a more individual level, it’s a prime opportunity for our Soldiers, Army Civilians and family members to relax and have fun.

Whatever your plans, keep safety at the forefront. Columbus Day is the first holiday of autumn, which can be a risky time of year. Colder temperatures and less daylight hours are just two of the seasonal changes that everyone should factor in as they make their plans.

If traveling long distances with family or friends, get plenty of rest and plan adequate breaks during the trip. Obey the speed limits, don’t drive distracted and always wear your seatbelt. When you’re out walking or riding a bicycle, motorcycle or other recreational vehicle, be sure to use all required safety equipment and it is in good working order. Wear reflective clothing after dark to alert others of your presence and give drivers more time to react.

Also, this is the time of year to begin thinking about winterizing vehicles and conducting preseason inspections of heating units. Ensure your home fire extinguishers are fully charged and remember to test and replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Likewise, it is important to have an escape plan and to discuss it with everyone in your home.

I ask each of you to act responsibly whether on- or off-duty. Look out for each other and take the time you need to plan appropriately for whatever activity you participate in over the long weekend.

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Thanks for what you do in service for the entire Fort Lee community and beyond.

Army Safe is Army Strong!