Lafayette High School students in Wildwood got a firsthand look at what happens when firefighters have to extract someone from a vehicular accident, how injuries are handled by emergency responders and what immediately happens when a person is arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Metro West Fire Protection District firefighters and St. Louis County Police Department officers combined efforts to simulate real situations they encounter, in hopes that Lafayette students will make smart choices to save lives while driving, especially during Homecoming festivities, which occur tonight and tomorrow for the Lancers.
Metro West firefighter and paramedic Matt Seger told students just prior to the demonstration one of the main points to remember is that one accident can possibly negatively affect the lives of at least 30 more people, if the accident involves more than one driver or passengers.
"You've got not only the driver, but the parents and family members who then have to live with the consequences," said the Lafayette School Resource Officer Oliver Helbig. "It could be dozens of lives, and we're hoping to get you to think about that."
Rockwood Valley Middle School Resource Officer Bernie Widdis told the students one out of every three accidents that occur between midnight and 3 a.m. involve a drunken driver. He is a St. Louis County Police Department officer that has personal experience with various types of situations stemming from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). He, himself, was hit by a vehicle of a drunken driver who didn't stop the vehicle in time during a routine sobriety check, and he said he has the pins in his ankle with which to live.
To make the mock accident scene more realistic and enable the students to understand how gruesome it can be in real life, Robb Mourton, a St. Louis area medical instructor and educator and EMT-B, applied different types of mock blood for various effects. He uses the same effects and training on a larger scale and more intensely for military training based from Jefferson Barracks.
This safety demonstration was organized by the STAR group (Supporting Teens At Risk), with Lafayette associate principal Nisha Patel as sponsor. Senior Malia Macaraeg acted as the drunken driver at the mock accident scene, and her passenger, senior E. J. Myers, was injured. Senior Tranesha Cooks pretended to be injured in the car that was hit by Macaraeg, while senior Sierra Buffum was the mock fatality, who was actually put into a body bag before being taken from the scene by Schrader Funeral Home representatives.
A St. Louis ARCH helicopter also landed in the Lafayette High football field to demonstrate air-evacuation medical assistance.