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Jun 05, 2020
Mock Crash Designed to Impact Avon Grove Students Before Prom
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By Secretary Bill Wohl
May 20, 2019

One of the most important community education efforts undertaken by the West Grove Fire Company is holding a very realistic simulated crash just prior the high school prom at the Avon Grove High School. The mock crash represents a real and successful opportunity to show students how dangerous distracted driving can be – whether that distraction comes from drinking and driving, from too many kids in the car, or from texting and other handheld phone use.

The goal of the mock crash is to simulate a very real and shocking multi-vehicle crash situation, to show the students the results of the crash, and help educate them on not only what happens, but the real and dangerous outcomes of distracted driving. To assure a real-like experience, wrecked cars are placed in the parking lot, and victims are placed in the cars. The “victims” are student volunteers, who appear seriously injured through the moulage process. These victims are then placed in the cars as if they are entrapped – some are to act injured (moaning or screaming), and some are to simulate victims who have been killed.

The cars are then covered with sheets until hundreds of high school students are assembled to witness the scene. The sheets are withdrawn and a moderator then describes the scene, and the students then witness a full emergency response by the WGFC, complete with lights, sirens, and full rescue protocol.

Fire trucks arrive onto the school grounds and set up around the scene. Fire crews begin efforts with rescue tools to cut victims from the cars using the Jaws of Life, equipment that makes it possible to remove doors and roofs to access patients. EMS crews from the WGFC and Medic 94 then care for the patients in and around the vehicles, including tending to the injured and identifying victims who have been killed.

Members of the State Police arrive, and interview and then arrest drivers at fault. More than 25 Fire, EMS and Police participants swarm the “crash” scene, just feet from the students, with the moderator describing each step and action – making this a very, very realistic crash scene.

For those in the Fire Company who have participated many times, the silence of the student audience is a clear indication of how impactful these mock crashes are. It is not unusual to see students staring quietly as the incident unfolds, and real emotions are in play as the audience learns that young people have been killed by distracted driving. At the conclusion of the 45 minute rescue session, the students are allowed to come down and look closely at the destroyed cars, talk to the victims and meet the Police, Fire and EMS crews.

There is an enormous effort to conduct this mock crash program, but the effort is absolutely worth it if even one student changes behavior behind the wheel in response to viewing this program.

Our thanks to the Avon Grove High School staff for participating, to the State Police for being fully involved, to the students who volunteered to the be victims, to Medic 94 for making their crew available, and to the overall community for providing the resources to make it possible for the WGFC to have such an important impact on our young people.

Units: Engines 22-1, 22-2, Rescue 22, Ambulance 22, Medic 94, Avondale State Police

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