It’s Your Night Out!

Written by: Rod Krause, 5th Bomb Wing Safety and Occupational Health Manager

It’s 1:00 a.m. and you’ve got to be up and at ’em at 7:00 a.m. The problem is you’re toasted. Uh huh, you’ve had the time of your life and enough alcohol to drink to keep you happy until 10:00 a.m. the next day! Somewhere in the fog reality strikes.

You’ve got to get home. You look around. Your friends are toasted too.

You draw sticks and hope for the best. Darn, you “won.” You’re thinking it’s only a couple of “clicks” to the front gate and you don’t feel THAT drunk. You toss a stick of chewing gum in your mouth and off you go.

As you approach the gate you fumble for your ID. You’re thinking if you could just get through the gate you’d be home free!

You’re hoping for that quickie ID check and a friendly wave to proceed. As you hand the guard your ID card he’s observing your every move. He noticed the way you approached the gate – weaving (because you were fumbling for your ID card, of course). He notices your glossy pupils and the way your eyes fail to focus. He notices the slur of your speech when he asks you how you’re doing this nice Okinawan evening. But all of your actions tell him to check you out a little closer. He can smell the alcohol emanating from your breath. He knows there’s no such thing as Juicy Fruit alcohol-flavored gum. You’re busted!


This is the scene over and over again. Night after night people are caught drinking and driving. Why? Because they fail to plan. They fail to assess the risks associated with drinking and driving. If you take a minute or two to plan the evening you can save yourself great embarrassment, you can save your career, and most importantly, you can live to enjoy another of those great nights out.


While many of us have heard of Operational Risk Management, or ORM, many of us don’t use it when we’re off-duty. This common misconception is worth exploring. Let’s see how we can apply ORM to the scenario above. The Air Force has a six-step process:

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