When students arrived at South Carroll High School last week, they had no idea they would be subject to a highly orchestrated demonstration staged by local, county and state public safety and law officials.
The Winfield Volunteer Fire Department, Sykesville Freedom District VFD, Gamber VFD and Mt. Airy VFC were among several departments present at "Every 15 Minutes," a two-day program that offers real-life experience without the real-life risks.
View photos on the right, and more on the Winfield VFD website.
The Every 15 Minutes Program focuses on high school juniors and seniors that challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions.
Last Thursday, the "Grim Reaper" called students who had been selected from a cross-section of the entire student body out of class. One student was removed from class every 15 minutes. (This began at 8:00 am.)
A simulated traffic collision was conducted right after lunch on the school grounds by local fire and rescue personnel and police. Rescue workers from the Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Dept. and the Mt. Airy Volunteer Fire Co. treated “injured” student participants.
Troopers from the Maryland State Police and deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office operated as if this were a real scenario. The students experienced, firsthand, the sensations of being involved in a tragic, alcohol-related collision. (This began at 1:00 pm.)
Officer arrested the student playing the drunk driver as the engine crews extricated the patients from the vehicles. The lead coordinator of this event was Amy Carney, NREMT-P of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department.
At the end of the day, those students who participated in the staged accident as well as those who were made-up as the "living dead" were transported to a local hotel for an overnight student retreat. The retreat simulated the separation from friends and family. (This began at 6:00 pm.)
The powerful program challenges students to think about drinking, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. Along with alcohol related crashes, it focuses on the impact that their decisions would have on family and friends.
The MD States Attorney's Office/Carroll County District Court of Maryland, Carroll County Public Schools, Burrier Queen Funeral Home and the Carroll Hospital Center also participated in the event.
This information was provided by a Carroll County schools press release and a Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department report.