‘It Can’t Happen To Me’
Grade 9 – 12 students from Mannville, Innisfree Delnorte and Creighton Colony Schools were on edge as they witnessed a live performance detailing the aftermath of a mock motor vehicle collision on March 24.
Mannville – Minburn – Innisfree Family and Community Support Services’ (M-M-I F.C.S.S.) Director Jannette Riedel and Coordinator Carla Cavanagh welcomed everyone to their ‘It Can’t Happen To Me – Risk Awareness Project (ICHTM).’ Paramedics, AHS, RCMP, Minburn County Fire Department, and Reflections Funeral Services all took part to make the mock scene come to life, and deliver educational presentations throughout the day.
“This program is real, emotional, scientific, and lifesaving. The youth heard firsthand experiences from the people who experience them,” said Riedel.
Teacher, Zane Polishuk, has also been on the Mannville Fire Department for the past 15 years and detailed the scene as it unfolded. He noted that some of the members had been fighting fire until after 3 a.m. the night prior.
This mock scene had three patients, and as sirens approached Polishik said, “When driving around, pay attention to where you are in case you have to call 9-1-1. In a small town, there is a good chance we know who we are responding to but may not recognize them until after. When hurt, if that vehicle moves even slightly, you feel it. Distracted driving (from phone and passengers) are pretty much the number one cause of motor vehicle collisions these days, although it could be impaired or even lack of sleep.”
With one mock deceased at the scene he said it would also be considered an active crime scene and the evidence would have to remain intact. At certain scenes, they wear an N95 mask if there are certain known illnesses or even to avoid the smallest amount of Fentanyl or Carfentanil. Thermal image cameras are used to see if there are people in the ditch he said, as bodies can be ejected 40 – 60 feet.
Members from Innisfree and Mannville Fire Departments secured the car with straps and telescopic metal struts. If Vermilion ambulances are busy, he said they may wait for one from Two Hills, Wainwright or Vegreville. While some were on traffic control, others put one patient on a spine board and Polishuk said, “We might hold a scene for hours until investigative members from Edmonton or St. Paul can assess. When fluids come from a person and are frozen to the highway, we need to use a scoop shovel to free them so the funeral home can pick them up. We have to identify the victim, and notify the family.”
One mock patient reported to RCMP that she had been texting her mom and he noted that it was an indictable offence, meaning they could be charged two years and fines, up to life in prison.
This was the 22nd ICHTM project.
Students learned about what happens when people are extracted from a vehicle, rushed through the trauma room doors, into surgery, rehab and, if lucky enough, recovery.
Riedel said, “ICHTM is about experiencing what happens when someone makes a decision that changes lives forever. The project brings attention to social responsibilities and the impact on the community. These presentations are intended to give youth an opportunity to touch base with their own feelings relating to acceptance, disability and death and to examine their own behaviours.”
Nurses didn’t hold back when discussing what it’s really like when someone comes into the trauma room, and students examined their willingness to help others. They even had a solemn presentation from the funeral home on what happens when there is a death. A guest speaker shared about a tragic collision that claimed lives and affected the lives of generations of family members, friends, and the community. He described his struggles growing up dealing with mental health issues, and years later his strength and resilience.
Overall the day was meant to encourage good decision-making, alertness, and care for those around you. The youth in attendance are sure to carry these messages and vivid memories with them for many years to come.