How to save a life

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- If you knew you had the power to save a life, would you use it? What if you could go back in time and prevent an incident that would save the life of someone you knew or loved, would you do it? What if you had the power to prevent driving under the influence at Hurlburt Field?

The power is in your hands.

Incidents of DUI are quite preventable, and yet they continue to occur. How can it be stopped? How can Hurlburt Field finish 2009 with no additional DUIs? 

The Anti-DUI Task Force, tasked with reversing negative DUI trends, is preparing for the Save-A-Life Tour scheduled for Feb. 23-24 at Freedom Hangar.  The Tour begins with a mass briefing from 8-9 a.m. A drunken driving simulator will be available from 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. The simulator is designed to demonstrate the effects of driving while impaired.

Commanders are highly encouraged to send all commissioned and enlisted Airmen ages 18-26-year-old personnel to one of the two briefings. This group is vital, as statistics reveal the majority of alcohol-related incidents occur in this age group. However, Airmen of all ages and senior leaders are encouraged to attend to gain an understanding and to show support for the program.

Historically, there has been an alarming spike in DUIs and alcohol-related incidents this time of the year. The local police departments have already stepped up patrols and fines have increased across the board for all types of traffic violations. The only way to achieve zero DUIs, is for each person to make a personal commitment to saving a life by not drinking and driving. Period.

Imagine the potential impact on finances and family for being convicted of drunken driving? How about accidentally hitting, or worse killing someone? What would be the life-long consequences for those actions?

Last year, I made a pledge to myself that I wouldn't be part of the problem, I would become part of the solution. I offered to help those in my unit by giving up alcohol for six weeks and offered to be a designated driver to anyone who needed it. My rules were simple: call anytime day or night for a ride, free of charge, no questions asked, and I will get you home safely. I actually had a few people take me up on the offer and I'm proud to say they made it home safely .

Driving under the influence is an epidemic and it needs to be treated,  just as the flu or any other preventable illness, by providing mandatory prevention measures at the unit level to ensure Airmen and their loved ones are protected. Leaders ensure their subordinates get their flu shots and they also need to make sure they get this crucial message.

Drinking and driving kills. It kills people, it kills Airmen, it kills families, it kills careers, finances, driving records and reputations. We can save lives. It's up to each and every member of Team Hurlburt to make it their personal mission not to drink and drive or let another person drink  and drive.

I highly encourage all commanders at Hurlburt Field to send their Airmen to this high-impact alcohol awareness program. The Save A Life Tour benefits all of us and has been widely received throughout the Department of Defense. For more information on the Save A Life Tour, visit www.savealifetour.com, or call 1-888-655-7263. For more information on Hurlburt's schedule, call 884-6094.