A A student actor is put under arrest during a mock collision to educate students about the dangers of driving while drunk or distracted on Monday April 4, 2016 in Cold Lake, Alta. Peter Lozinski/Cold Lake Sun/Postmedia Network
Cold Lake’s Grade 9 students got a first-hand look at the dangers of drinking and driving on April 5.
The PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) program welcomed about 230 students to the Energy Centre in an effort to teach kids to take smart risks.
The program is run by Cold Lake Victim Services with the assistance of other agencies, including the RCMP, Peace Officers, Military Police, Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Alberta Health Services, Cold Lake Ambulance Society and a local funeral home.
The PARTY program was started in 1986 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto with the help of an emergency room nurse. It has since expanded to more than 100 sites worldwide.
A smaller-scale PARTY program ran in Cold Lake in the past. Individual classes were brought to the Cold Lake Health Care Centre and spend a week learning about taking smart risks.
Last year, in an effort to revive the program, Victim Services brought in the Grade 9 students for a half-day session.
This year, the students were welcomed for a full-day event.
In the morning, with the help of Cold Lake Fire-Rescue and drama students from Cold Lake High School, students witnessed a mock collision.
Two cars were set up to look like one t-boned the other. The actors were placed inside, sporting bloody makeup, and acted the part of trauma victims.
Two of the students were dead on arrival, while one was arrested and put in the back of a police car for drinking and driving, while the fourth was extracted and carted off in an ambulance.
Cold Lake Fire Rescue contributed by bringing along pneumatic cutters and spreaders, cutting the roof off one of the cars, helping paramedics strap the actor to a backboard and taking her away in the ambulance.
Another actor was zipped into a body bag and placed into the back of the funeral home’s vehicle.
After the dramatic mock collision, students went inside where they listened to safety talks and visited the exhibitors’ booths.
Victim Services coordinator Dave Zimmerman urged the students to take safe risks.
“Risk is a measure of the likelihood of experiencing injury or trauma as the consequence of making a choice. Risk management is making choices about risks. It is not about stopping all risks,” Zimmerman said.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.