Lessons from the wreck­age

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

“IT was some­thing you wouldn’t want your­self, your fam­ily or your friends to ever go through,” re­flected Year 12 stu­dent Yasmin Stievano on her ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing a car crash vic­tim dur­ing Thurs­day’s Emer­gency Ser­vices crash en­act­ment.

Yasmin was stand­ing in front of her grad­u­at­ing class cov­ered in fake burns, ringed by four other ‘crash’ vic­tims and a bevy of emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel.

The se­nior, her four class­mates and Moss­man, Port Dou­glas and Cairns emer­gency ser­vices had just acted out a grim sce­nario of the mo­ments af­ter a car crash.

Ear­lier, the se­nior class walked onto the oval and con­fronted the scene of a young girl splayed un­der a mo­tor­bike, trapped and un­mov­ing with gashes painted onto her limbs.

A car, crum­pled and wrapped around a tree was full of silent teenagers un­til one let out a blood cur­dling scream.

The scene had been set: a teenage driver was tex­ting while driv­ing his three mates home from a party when he ran into a mo­tor­bike rider, ren­der­ing the rider in­stantly quadriplegic.

The next hour was cru­cial and Year 12 stu­dents made sure they didn’t miss a sec­ond of it.

Po­lice, am­bos, firies, SES and of all things even a res­cue he­li­copter de­scended on the scene and set to work ‘res­cu­ing’ the in­jured teens.

The ac­tors let out groans and cries for help, but no mat­ter how hard they screamed the pro­fes­sion­als re­mained calm, get­ting down to busi­ness.

The process was me­thod­i­cal and at times painfully slow as the ex­perts tended to the vic­tims and tried to ex­tri­cate them from the man­gled car.

Teenagers were en­grossed by the un­fold­ing scene .

For some, the scene be­came too real when an ac­tor’s mother burst through the crowd, scream­ing and crouch­ing over her ‘in­jured’ daugh­ter.

A line of girls in the front row let out tears at the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion and the re­al­i­sa­tion that this could hap­pen to any­one.

Moss­man aux­il­iary fire­fighter An­drew Pe­track, who was nar­rat­ing the events to the Year 12s, said the emo­tional re­sponse meant the ex­er­cise was a suc­cess.

“If this ex­er­cise saves even one per­son’s life, makes just one per­son think about the con­se­quences, then we’ve done our job,” said Lt Pe­track.

This year the ser­vices pulled out all the stops to ed­u­cate the grad­u­ates on road safety.

An emer­gency res­cue he­li­copter had flown up from Cairns, sim­u­lat­ing what would hap­pen in a gen­uine emer­gency, to trans­port the driver who had se­vere spinal in­juries to the Townsville hos­pi­tal.

Af­ter the ex­er­cise grad­u­ates were de­briefed by a mem­ber of each of the emer­gency ser­vices and heard from their fel­low class­mates about what it felt like to act out the sce­nario.

Moss­man Se­nior Con­sta­ble Casan­dra Hill ex­plained how the reper­cus­sions don’t stop once the vic­tims have been trans­ported to the hos­pi­tal.

“For [Reilly] she will have to live the rest of her life as a quadriplegic, Dougie [the driver] will not only have that guilt but he will be charged with grevious bod­ily harm – that could mean jail time.”

For the stu­dents, who grad­u­ated the day af­ter the ex­er­cise, this is a happy time but the ex­er­cise was a timely re­minder that with adult priv­i­leges come very real adult re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Pic­ture: SHANE NICHOLS

All too real: stu­dents look on as a “spinal pa­tient” is pre­pared for the air lift

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