New Port, Rhode, Island - Center for Service Support (CSS) is urging Sailors, Department of the Navy (DoN) civilians and their families to be safe this Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day weekend, May 23 - 26, marks the first weekend of summer and the beginning weekend of the Critical Days of Summer.

"We place a lot of emphasis on safety, especially during the summer because it deals with our people," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Fred Butts, culinary specialist training manager. "We should never lose a team member to an accident that's preventable. We must work together to prevent any tragedies and mitigate any unnecessary risks."

The Critical Days of Summer stretch throughout the main summer holidays - Memorial Day, Fourth of July and into Labor Day. And it's during those periods, those holidays, that traditionally the Navy loses Sailors and Marines," said Butts.

According to Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Joel Huval, CSS safety coordinator, it is everyone's responsibility to look out for each other and act sensibly so that no lives are lost during the upcoming holiday weekend.

"Ultimately it's the individual's responsibility, but responsibility also falls squarely on leaders as well," said Huval. "We must be aware of the risk involved in activities we're doing, who we are doing it with and even conditions we are conducting our activities. We must think logically about the steps needed to ensure that everyone is safe. There are many factors that influence safety and well-being."

"It's a big responsibility and we must be aware of the hazards that are all around us and our families," said Huval. "We should also take advantage of the great programs already in place and use these training sessions to promote smart choices. Leaders should also use the Naval Safety Center's website to enhance training for our Sailors and staff members."

NSC's Web site, www.safetycenter.navy.mil, and Navy Knowledge Online, www.nko.navy.mil, offer the Travel Risk Planning System or TRiPS. TRiPS is an automated risk-assessment tool online. Sailors can use it before driving outside command travel limits for liberty or leave.

These systems help Sailors and DON employees recognize and avoid the hazards they face on busy streets and congested highways. These systems also keep the Sailors' commands involved in their travel safety.

"Always think about your location, what you're doing and make a commitment to yourself, your shipmates and your family, to conduct all activities safely," said Huval. "We need all hands to come back alive."

CSS and its learning sites provide Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the fleet's warfighting mission. More than 300 staff and faculty work hand-in-hand with the fleet and are dedicated to ensure training is current and well executed on behalf of 10,000 Sailors who graduate from CSS courses annually in the administration, logistics and media communities.