The St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI, Traffic Safety, Drinking Driver and EAP Special Programs Coordinator, Michele James, announced a series of mock DUI drills in area county high schools. Three area high schools are hosting mock DUI drills in May to teach students the tragic consequences of drinking and driving.
On May 3, Canton High School is performing their DUI drill. It is sponsored by the Canton Fire and Rescue squads with help from the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.
Then, Hermon Dekalb School hosts their event on Tuesday, May 7 from 1:30-2:30 in their back parking lot. Hermon and Dekalb Fire/Rescues will be attending again with assistance from the County Sheriff’s Department.
Potsdam Central School is planning their DWI mock crash on May 31 at 8:30 am.
Nationally one person dies every fifteen minutes in a drug or alcohol related auto accident. These mock drills create increased community awareness and action to reduce alcohol and drug related incidents and deaths. Trained firefighters, EMS crews and sheriff’s deputies will lead each of these instructive and engaging experiences.
Michele James is the Special Programs Coordinator for the county which oversees STOP-DWI/Traffic Safety and has been very active in holding these drills. “Sometimes the schools call me or sometimes I reach out to the school districts” she siad.
Teens are especially vulnerable to the dangers of drinking and driving. “The target audience is usually anywhere between 7-12 graders dependent on the school district and the space to view involved,” Ms. James continued, “I do remind schools that younger students don’t hesitate to take rides from older students. But is the older driver sober?”
Mock crashes are important to remind all involved what can happen when someone makes a poor choice to drink/drug and drive. Especially in a rural area like St. Lawrence County, it may take a while before an ambulance or fire/rescue units can extricate them from the scene. “I also make it a point to have the crowd recognize the dedication of the volunteers in fire/rescue/EMT units.”
If other schools would like to sponsor a similar event, the St. Lawrence County STOP-DWI program has made it easy. “I have created a checklist to simplify the planning process for these Mock crashes” James said.
Prom season and upcoming summer vacation presents students with opportunity to be out enjoying time with friends. “I receive most of my mock crash requests around Prom Season” Michele stated. Dances, proms and vacation often includes the consumption of alcohol.
Young people don’t generally realize the risks involved in drinking and driving. These mock drills will feature simulated casualties, role playing dead students and other visual props designed to make the students think twice about the risks in drinking and driving.
“The mock crash symbolizes the reality of what happens everyday in America when someone mixes impairment with a vehicle. Students see the interaction between the police/Fire/EMS/Rescue units at a crash scene” Michele continued. “Too many times, students see on TV these crashes without seeing the ramifications of what is involved.”