Sobering drill teaches safe driving awareness

First responders cut the roof off a car to show how complex an auto accident scene can be. The drill was held at Housatonic Valley Regional High School on May 2.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Sobering drill teaches safe driving awareness

FALLS VILLAGE — The Falls Village Volunteer Fire Department staged a mock disaster drill at Housatonic Valley Regional High School Thursday morning, May 2.

The scenario was a two-car accident involving an adult woman driving alone and a second car with three high school students leaving an end-of-the-school-year party.

The party was hosted by adults, who took car keys from guests as alcohol was served.

The student who was driving had a spare set of keys, however. She had consumed two beers and decided to leave with two friends.

The drill proceeded step by step, just as if it was real. Andrea Downs from the Falls Village ambulance service provided narration and context.

Starting with a 911 call, with Judy Jacobs describing the scene to a dispatcher, the arrival of the first responders from Falls Village, the subsequent arrival of the Salisbury and North Canaan ambulances and the State Police, the drill ended with the student driver (played by Amber Ramcharran) being led off in handcuffs and a deceased victim (played by Aron Ladanyi) being removed from the vehicle after firefighters cut the roof off and placed in a hearse from the Newkirk-Palmer funeral home in North Canaan.

The third student victim was played by exchange student Tara Djeladin, and the solo driver by athletic director Anne MacNeil.

Downs also went through a phone call to Sharon Hospital to determine where the living victims should be sent, as they required a higher level of care.

She emphasized how remote the Northwest Corner is, noting that transport by ambulance to Waterbury Hospital would take a little under an hour and to Hartford, a little over an hour.

And that bumpy ride would be in an ambulance with paramedics working to stabilize the patient and dealing with any issues that might arise.

In the scenario, LifeStar helicopter support was not available.

The crash was staged on the football field, and students watched from the bleachers. Afterwards, HVRHS assistant principal Steve Schibi told the students to be careful as the end of the school year approaches.

“Don’t be a statistic.”

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