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FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 5, 2017) -- Columbus Day weekend is the first holiday break of the fall season, and it brings new challenges in our efforts to keep military personnel, government civilians and their families safe. While we enjoy this welcome time off from our demanding work and personal schedules, each Team Lee member must endeavor to do so without accidents, serious injuries or loss of life.

Accident prevention is a continuous process. With the cooler/damper fall weather, new adverse driving conditions and challenges arise. Slick roads and reduced visibility from blowing leaves and/or low-lying fog are not uncommon. If traveling over this long weekend, be sure your vehicle is in safe working condition. This is especially important for those riding motorcycles.

Changing weather also brings shorter daylight hours, so ensure you can be seen by other drivers and wear all required safety equipment. This time of year marks the beginning of hunting season as well, which demands a high state of awareness and full compliance with local and state hunting laws. Those planning to hunt this year, should ensure they have taken the required safety course and obtain the proper license.

To minimize our risks, we must exercise good common sense in all of our activities and manage our susceptibility to accidents using the five-step Army risk management process. To promote this, leaders will conduct safety briefings prior to the holiday weekend. Emphasize on- and off-duty risks (including recreational and motor vehicle hazards). Furthermore, leaders must ensure their Soldiers have a current license and appropriate insurance. Enforce the requirement to use the Travel Risk Planning System, or TRiPS, assessment tool, available through the Army Combat Readiness Center website, This is required as part of their time-off request before driving to their leave/pass destination.

Thank you for your service and all you do for our Army and the nation. I want us to enjoy this long weekend without incidents. With a busy fall season ahead, I encourage everyone to practice risk management before and during all weekend activities, even if you’re just relaxing with family and friends. Accidents and incidents are avoidable. Keep safety first and foremost in everything you do.

Support Starts Here! Enjoy the weekend and stay safe.