Mount Airy, NC – Distracted Driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. EMS Director Justin Jarrell urges drivers to put down their cell phones and “Arrive Alive. Don’t Text & Drive.” Last Thursday, July 20th, Camp Med students at Northern Regional Hospital helped execute a Teen Texting and Driving mock crash scene with Surry County EMS to show teens the dangers of distracted driving.
The brutal scene depicted a smoking car crash after one teen had been texting while driving with a passenger. Her car “T-boned” another car containing two teens. The teen who was driving and texting was “dead on arrival,” while the other three involved in the accident with varying degrees of injury were deployed by ambulance to the nearest hospital and helicoptered to a trauma center according to their level of injury. Spectators heard the 911 call over speakers and the follow up dispatch call, while Jarrell narrated the scene as rescue teams, fire department, police, and air care arrived on the scene. Emergency personnel safely extricated the victims, at times using the “jaws of life,” removing the windshield with axes, and even peeling back the roof of one of the vehicles. Bleachers were set up for the public and Camp Med students to observe the free event, which was covered by WXII News 12 and Surry On the Go.
“These types of events are extremely important,” said Jarrell, “not only for our young and upcoming drivers, but to all drivers as the mock scenario makes these accidents seem as real as possible. Your actions behind the wheel can cost your life, or the life of someone else. It’s simply not worth it. Also, by demonstrating what Public Safety and healthcare professionals do, we hope to spark interest in our youth, possibly guiding them to a rewarding and lifesaving career in our community.”
“One in four car accidents in the United States are caused by cell phone use while driving, according to our National Safety Council,” said Tina Beasley, Manager of Volunteer Services at Northern Regional Hospital, one of the lead coordinators of the event. “The purpose of the scenario was two-fold. First, we wanted to show Camp Med students a range of health careers in action in an emergency situation and give them the opportunity to explore those careers at the end of the event. But, most importantly, we wanted to get the message out to everyone — teens and adults, that texting and driving is dangerous. Teens often don’t realize the consequences of texting and driving, but many have told me that this visual scenario really opened their eyes and made them realize what could happen. It was a powerful message with a huge impact. I am so proud to live and work in Surry County. The way that everyone from multiple agencies pulled together to make this happen amazes me.”
Observers saw the mock crash scene play out “from dispatch to disposition,” said Beasley; meaning the event will was a realistic play-by-play of what happens during such an accident, from the 911 call to emergency services, to the arrival of emergency services personnel, the assessment of the victims’ injuries, and “triaging,” or deciding the level of care needed and sending victims to appropriate facilities for care, whether by ambulance or helicopter.
Camp Med students assisted in the planning of the event and some of them played the role of the drivers and passengers in the vehicles. Jordin Beasley, one of the Camp Med crash “victims,” from Surry Early College High School, said, “Being able to see both sides of this scenario was very eye-opening. It was interesting to see how quickly the first responders and paramedics worked to ensure the patients’ safety. I believe that anyone interested in healthcare should watch a scenario like this to see how every person works together and has a specific role that is vital in these situations.”
“It was incredible to witness first-hand the heroic bravery and teamwork displayed by public safety professionals,” said scenario actor Nick Ballard, former Northern Regional Hospital “shadow” student and International HOSA-Future Health Professionals President Elect,” To know they do this every day is truly admirable. Beyond how exciting it was to be extricated from a vehicle and transported by helicopter, I was reminded how critical every first responder is for protecting our communities — for protecting our health and wellbeing — and for that, I am most grateful.”
“Camp Med was a wonderful learning experience and an overall fantastic time,” said observer and Camp Med student Dayanna Flores-Armenta, from Surry Central High School. “The scenario we got to experience was amazing; it gave us a glimpse into how things operate during an emergency call. I discovered that workers are working diligently but calmly to remove the urgent patients. It was incredibly eye-opening to watch the scene from the perspective of a spectator since we learned how many lives get harmed by crashes caused by texting and driving.” Several agencies collaborated on the event, including Northern Regional Hospital staff, Northern Camp Med students, Surry County EMS, Atrium Health AirCare, Surry County 911 Communications, Mount Airy Police Department, Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Airy Fire Department, Mount Airy Rescue Squad, Surry On the Go, Ultimate Towing and Wake Forest University Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
Northern Regional Hospital plans to coordinate more mock scenarios with Surry County EMS and emergency personnel in the future.