By Sarah McCarthy
An audience of students, staff and community members attended a mock disaster at Dryden High School last Wednesday. It was a team effort of local emergency units, the Grade 12 Leadership class and some DHS Drama Club members. The group of attendees witnessed up close and personal, a staged car accident- the result of impaired driving and what goes on during the process of addressing a 911 call, as well as the aftermath. Many aspects were explored, demonstrated and made clear to the audience that the effects of any accident, especially one involved with impaired driving go well beyond the initial wreck site.
P.A.R.T.Y is an acronym that stands for Preventing Alcohol related Trauma in Youth and Guidance Councilor, Cynthia Seitz at DHS gave an insight to the topics and said:
“The mock disaster is meant to be simulating and also shocking in a way too, because we want students to recognize that when they choose -and it’s not just students but when people choose to drive impaired, whether its alcohol related or whether its drug related, that there is a community cost. There is a reaction and a long lasting effect on public service workers. A community effect. That’s what the P.A.R.T.Y program is there to show, it’s for risk management in youth and also to highlight the realities of impaired driving. It’s more than just the shock value we hoped to get out of them but it’s let’s talk about the long term effects too.”
Seitz went on to add that some of those long term effects being rehabilitation, insurance, healing for families and community members, but it doesn’t stop there. The first responders, care givers and more of which all were discussed at the P.A.R.T.Y assembly from police officers, fire fighters and paramedics themselves.Michelle Teeple with Dryden Police, one of the main organizers of the event described the importance of getting the message to the students and said:
“One thing we wanted to do is just to get the information out to the kids that once there’s been an arrest, or a crash that’s just one piece of what moving forward will be.”
The P.A.R.T.Y assembly showed this concept extremely well, by taking students and observers through a realistic occurrence of what was to come after the crash. Some of the next steps including what goes on in a trauma room, the parental cost and reaction, rehabilitation, insurance policies, sentencing for jail time and coroner results.
Pat Obie, another organizer talks about how these factors are not something you have time to think about in that moment and said:
“It’s a split second decision that kids make to jump in a car with a drunk driver or to drive impaired, they don’t think about the consequences. Our job is to make sure they see the full gratification of it.”
Both Teeple and Obie, as well as all participants and contributors want to make sure that there is huge takeaway from this mock demonstration. The successful and powerful presentation of the P.A.R.T.Y put the realities of impaired driving in the minds of many. Make a plan ahead of time, stick to it and ensure your safety as well as others around you. Keeping our kids and each other safe is a community responsibility.