101 critical days of summer: Play it Safe

By USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs & Naval District Washington Public Affairs

The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and with higher temperatures and winter in the rearview mirror, personnel should take time to consider the safety aspects of this busy time of year.

That’s where the “101 Critical Days of Summer” campaign comes in to play.

The Naval Safety Center’s Occupational Health Office defines the 101 Critical Days of Summer as the 101-day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. During this time many more people, civilians and military alike, are participating in activities that could potentially be dangerous if precautions are not taken. The Department of Defense looks to curb the risk of injury by educating personnel on those risks and how to avoid them with the 101 Critical Days of Summer program.

The campaign originally began sometime after the passage of the Monday Holiday Bill in 1971, when statistics showed an increase in mishaps and fatalities during long weekends and longer summer days.

Take a look through the below important safety reminders to play safe this summer.


• Wear high-visibility clothing and a properly-fitted helmet.

• Follow the same rules as vehicle drivers.

• On narrow roads, use the full lane.

• Use shoulders only if they are clear of debris, and not on steep descents.

• Keep your bicycle inspected.

• German traffic law requires bicycles to be fitted with dyno-powered front and rear lights, reflectors for front and rear, pedals and wheels, a working  bell, and front and rear brakes. There are special rules for bicycles not weighing more than 24 pounds, four ounces.

• Children up to 8 years old must use sidewalks; those 8 to 10 years of age may use sidewalks. Children more than 10 years old must use the signed bicycle paths or roads.

• Cell phone use is forbidden when riding.

• Cyclists face the same penalties for riding under the influence of alcohol as vehicle drivers.


• Do not drink and drive.

• Rest before driving. Drive for 10 hours at a maximum, and take a break every two hours.

• Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt. Children 12 years old and younger, or 4’11” or shorter, must use a suitable restraint device.

• Keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.


Motorcyclists must wear proper protective clothing: approved helmet, high-visibility garments, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full-length trousers, full-fingered gloves and over the ankle footwear made of sturdy leather.


• Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.

• The grill should be placed well away from the home and overhanging tree branches.

• Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.

• Do not wear loose clothing.

• Keep your grill clean.

• Always grill on a flat, stable surface.

• Never leave a grill unattended.

Source: www.nfpa.org/education

Charcoal grills

• Only use charcoal starter fluid — never gasoline.

•  Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources.

• After grilling, let the coals cool and dispose of them in a metal container.

Propane grills

• Check for leaks: apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.

• If your grill has a leak, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

• Do not store propane tanks indoors.


• Never leave children unattended.

• Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while around water. Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children.

• When swimming in the sea, check for warning flags and where it is safe to swim. Note that lifeguards are not always present.

• Never swim when tired, overheated or immediately after eating.

• Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards, whenever possible.

• Do not drink alcohol before or during any water activity.

• Learn to swim.

• Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

• Do not use air-filled or foam toys like “water wings,” “noodles” or inner-tubes in place of personal flotation devices. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

Here in Germany …

• There will be no lifeguard, or “Bademeister,” sitting on a high chair and watching the pool, but one will always be in attendance. Look for the Bademeister’s office.

• Only swim in places where a lifeguard is present.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


• Oak Processionary Caterpillars eject tiny hairs into the air that can cause rashes.

• If the hairs cause difficulty breathing, seek emergency attention.

• Stay clear of roped-off trees.


• Some rodents carry Hantavirus, which can cause severe illness.

• Do not touch rodent droppings, urine or nesting materials.

• Call Pest Management at 0711-729-6261.


• Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and Tickborne Encephalitis. Wear light-colored clothing in a forested area and long sleeves.

• Try not to brush against the underbrush.

• Apply a bug spray containing DEET.

• After being outdoors, check yourself thoroughly for ticks, especially in the groin and armpit areas.

• If you find a tick, remove it by grasping the base with tweezers and pulling back swiftly.

• If you develop a rash around a bite site, see your doctor.

• To receive a Tickborne Encephalitis vaccine on the German economy, see your doctor.

Source: Stuttgart Army Health Clinic