That’s because the incident involved a mock scenario. It wasn’t real, although it left a real impression on those who witnessed the event.
It was part of an initiative called the P.A.R.T.Y. Program (Prevention of Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth), a dynamic, interactive, injury prevention initiative.
The nation-wide program, being held for the first time for Frontier School students, started off with a few introductory remarks before the kids were bussed out to a mock accident scene about three miles east of Frontier along Highway #18.
There, the youngsters got a first-hand look as local firefighters and EMS staff responded to the mock tragedy.
The students watched intently as emergency personnel handled the situation, using the jaws of life to rescue a baby trapped inside an overturned vehicle, while the innocent driver of the car was transported to the funeral home in a body bag.
Meanwhile, EMS workers cared for another injured passenger and the distracted driver who caused the crash.
The program was initiated in an effort to give students an authentic look at a crash site, right down to the make-up applied to the mock victims.
The program is also designed to simulate the difficult journey of a trauma patient, including their hospital care and recovery.
Following the mock crash, students were transported to the Border Health Centre at Climax where they were broken into smaller groups for individual sessions led by a series of health and safety leaders. Paramedics and emergency room nurses helped students experience the hard, cold reality these types of incidents can produce.
“What you saw here today, we deal with all the time . . and it’s no party,” said EMT Bonnie Evenson, trying to drive home the fact these incidents do happen and that no one is immune to tragedy.
Evenson, a 22-year ambulance veteran, also encouraged students to consider a career as an EMT.
“It’s a tough job, a hard job,” she added. “But it’s a rewarding job. We lost one person (in the mock crash), but we helped save three.”
At noon, the students took part in a “disabilities lunch” at the Climax Hall, where kids were assigned specific disabilities – such as blindness or amputation – that they had to deal with while trying to eat their meal.
The day-long session ended back at Frontier School with a powerful presentation from a young injury survivor, Kayley Lawrenz, who gave a very personal insight into the trauma associated with making a wrong decision.
Frontier teacher Michael Puszkar served as the event’s co-ordinator.
Organizers were pleased with the response from the local high school students. The day’s events gave everyone who participated, from the emergency personnel to the students, a realistic experience to the trauma of a crash scene and the possible negative outcomes.
“It’s an excellent program,” said Frontier School principal Gail Balfour. “The students thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. If it helps one student make better choices when driving, it was worth all the planning and work.”
The P.a.r.t.y. Program has been very active in Saskatchewan, with approximately 50 communities running events throughout the year.
The program has experienced overwhelming success nationally and internationally.