Friday, 09 June 2017 08:00

Pincher Creek students to PARTY for an educational cause

Written by  Demi Knight
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Emergency Service workers try to free passengers from the mock car crash which was a demonstration for Pincher Creek students held the end of May. Emergency Service workers try to free passengers from the mock car crash which was a demonstration for Pincher Creek students held the end of May. Photo by Demi Knight

In hopes to teach young adults the effects of distracted and drunken driving Pincher Creek brought the PARTY to its students.

This international PARTY program stands to teach young adults about Preventing Alcohol and Risk related Trauma within Youths (PARTY) by travelling to different high schools and presenting mock disasters of car crash scenes to students.
Pincher Creek is the most recent town within Alberta to receive the PARTY program. On May 25 the PARTY program put on a demonstration at  the Pincher Creek fire hall. Grade 11 students from Matthew Halton High School watched as Fire and EMS crews displayed a scene of two victims in a car crash due to distracted driving.
Alberta Health Services worker Megan Heroux says this display is  held to teach the students about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.
“Paramedics are engaging in this mock collision to teach students about the dangers of choosing to drive while distracted or under the influence,”   she says. “Community partners come together to show the reality of what poor decisions can ultimately mean.”
As the wind picked up, students watched the 30-minute scene play out before them, where firefighters and paramedics worked against the clock  to extract the passengers from the wreckage.
Whilst the scene unfolded, members of the Fire and Rescue team explained to the onlooking students the extremities of the situation including how long it can take to assess the situation, to the length of time it may take for EMS to reach the scene and be able to free the victims.
However, it’s not just the initial collision the students had the opportunity to see, but also the steps afterward. From Emergency Services and paramedics giving on site medical attention to the trauma room at the hospital, the students were given the chance to watch just how traumatic the whole situation can become.
Partners such as physiotherapists and the RCMP also offer a hand in the mock disaster, in efforts to show the continued questions and supportive care that may be needed following a collision.
Heroux says although the PARTY program works to co-ordinate the event, it’s the partners within each town that really make the event a success.
“So many partners come together to make it meaningful for the students, so that they can see not just the initial response, but also what happens after that. We co-ordinate it all, but it really is our partners that do all the grunt work and make it an effective event for the students to attend.”
Paramedics and firefighters agreed during the event the educational mock disaster was for the students own good, and to educate them on the realities rather than to scare them.
The PARTY program has been active since 1986 and has travelled all across the country to continue educating young adults against reckless actions.
After emergency room workers became tired of seeing so many young people come through with serious injuries due to drunk and distracted driving, they decided to make a difference and create a program that could help educate the youths on the realities behind seemingly ‘innocent’ activities.
Although the program was initially set to show to Grade 9 students, Heroux says they are in a transition period right now to move to Grade 10 instead.
“Right now, here in Pincher Creek  we have a class of Grade 11s with us. Although in previous years we have worked with Grade 9 students we decided to make the change and show to Grade 10s instead. But we’re still in that transition period right now so we’re showing to the Grade 11s seeing as the Grade 10s will have already seen this last year.”
Although students may think they know the dangers of distracted driving, seeing the consequences first hand can drive the point home.
“I think it really is making a difference. We have good feedback  from students, parents and teachers, where they’ve said it makes them think ahead more. Even if it gives just one student the opportunity to realize the magnitude of the dangers, then we’ve done our jobs.”
Although international, within Alberta the program is run in rural areas through Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod and Taber. 
 The PARTY event also took place in Fort Macleod May 16 at F.P. Walshe High School and was presented June 1 at the Crowsnest Consolidated High School and the Livingstone School.

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