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Mock crash teaches life-saving lesson 'Don't Drink and Drive'

Unionville Volunteer Firefighters and Union County Emergency Medical paramedics perform CPR on a student “killed” in a simulated Underage Drunk Driving crash at Porter Ridge High School Wednesday. The performance, presented by the school’s SADD but TRU clubs, utilized multiple fire, emergency and law enforcement agencies

It’s difficult to silence bleachers filled with 1,500 high school students, but during yesterday’s mock deadly crash on “prom night,” staged on the football field at Porter Ridge High School, one could hear the proverbial pin drop.
   
The school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the Tobacco Reality Unfiltered (TRU) clubs, with the assistance of numerous local law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighters, simulated an Underage Drunk Driving crash with deadly consequences Wednesday, April 28, 2010, only weeks before the school’s actual prom night.
   
“In the bigger picture, I hope today forces students to stop and think about the consequences of their actions,” said event coordinator Laura Grier, a Tobacco Free Schools Specialist. “If this just makes one student stop and think about what they’re doing during prom; if it saves one life, we’ve done our job.”
   
Heather Welch, a student Porter Ridge, said she felt the message given was quite clear. “I think this will make students think twice before they drink and drive,” she said. “I think it will have an impact on their actions during prom.”
   
The planning of the event began in January, the vision of Lael Rorie, a teacher at Porter Ridge. Jessica Briggs, the school’s drama teacher, enlisted her students to take part in the realistic crash scene.
   
Union County Emergency Medical Services, Crossroads Body Shop (which provided the wrecked car), Unionville Volunteer Fire Department, the NC Highway Patrol, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Monroe Police Department, Stallings Police Department, Carolina Medical Center’s Safe Communities, and the Union County Communications Office all took part in the massive effort.
   
Unionville Volunteer Fire Chief Bill Canupp even provided actual recordings with emergency dispatchers that were amplified over the loud speakers, helping to provide the eerie realism to the deadly scene.
   
A hearse, complete with a coffin provided by Gordon’s Funeral Home, was positioned at the exit, a solemn reminder of what could happen when you drink and drive. Students had to walk past this grim message as they left the ball field.
   
After the demonstration, a trooper with the NC Highway Patrol spoke to students, giving statistics as to how many accidents and how many deaths happen on Union County highways each day.
   
Porter Ridge High School principal Sam Basden then spoke with students, asking them to think before they act. “I want you to make good choices,” he said. “Sometime in June, you have an opportunity to make a good choice or a bad choice. Prom is downtown Charlotte, a long way there and a long way back. Please take that into consideration.”
 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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