Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth 2013

Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth 2013
(P.A.R.T.Y Program)

By Reagan Breeze
Emergency & Education Officer
City of Dryden Fire

In mid-March, a special event was planned at the Dryden Regional Health Centre (DRHC). Grade 10 and 11 students, accompanied by their Vice Principal, Brad Bartlett of Dryden High School (DHS), were chosen to take part in the P.A.R.T.Y Program, a program that can change the way students make decisions to prevent intentional and unintentional injuries.

What is the P.A.R.T.Y program?

The program is a component of the students’ civics class and members from Safe Communities Dryden, Vice Principal Brad Bartlett and the DRHC planned the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y Program). Students were marked on their attendance. The mission of the program is to promote injury prevention through vivid clinical reality, enabling youth to recognize risk, make informed choices and identify potential consequences about activities and behaviours.

Given the anecdotal stories about distracted driving, the focus of the program in Dryden is to educate students about the ramifications of distracted driving, driving intoxicated, and texting while driving. The partnerships that made this possible were City of Dryden Fire and Police Service, DHS, Northwest EMS (Emergency Medical Service) and physicians and nurses from Dryden Regional Health Centre.

Engaging the students

The day started out with introductions of all involved members. The students were then led to the ambulance apparatus area. On the students’ arrival, they witnessed a mock scenario of two of their classmates lying on the floor injured and being attended by the Northwest EMS. In the scenario, one person had been drinking and driving and had lost control of their vehicle. The two injured people had been ejected and had sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. Northwest EMS personnel worked on the patients while Northwest EMS member Denis Boyd outlined what the EMS workers were doing and why, to the on-looking students.

The student “patients” were transported by ambulance to the emergency room of the DRHC, where they were examined and “treated” by medical staff and Dr. Adam Moir. One student was administered a real cast on his leg and the other had to stay on the backboard for a good part of the morning. City of Dryden Fire Service and Safe Communities Dryden Member Reagan Breeze said, “The reason for the patient being left on the backboard was to show the students the life-altering changes that can occur from a horrific event like drinking, texting or distracted driving.” He also stated “Students had the opportunity to see and experience just how uncomfortable and life-altering these changes can be.”


A Dryden student gets fitted with a backboard as part of the P.A.R.T.Y program.

A Dryden student gets fitted with a backboard as part of the P.A.R.T.Y program.

A Dryden student gets a neck brace and treated for a leg injury as part of the P.A.R.T.Y program.

A Dryden student gets a neck brace and treated for a leg injury as part of the P.A.R.T.Y program.

Students were then led through all departments within the DRHC and were provided an overview of the operations of each department. Through a detailed question and answer session, the students learned that Hollywood often portrays patients healing overnight from these major injuries. These students were told the truth: sometimes it takes years or the remainder of the patient’s life for any improvement to occur.

A glimpse of life with a life-threatening injury

During the lunch break, the students had to wear a variety of medical aids. This was to demonstrate to students how difficult life could be if their daily living were to be altered by a life-threatening injury. Students found it very difficult to unwrap such items as sandwiches wrapped in cellophane, as some only had one finger on their hand and others had no hand at all.

The next part of the session was speaker presentations from each of the partner representatives. Each talked about what they had encountered over the years in their respective jobs, the effects of losing a community member, and how it had impacted the community.

During the last part of the day, the students watched videos that dealt with texting, drinking and driving, and distracted driving. The room was very silent during this time as the videos caught the attention of the students and detailed how horrific an incident like this can be.

Getting a real-life perspective

Perhaps the most emotional part of the day, was when a guest speaker was brought in to talk about how he had lost a son to someone who was drinking and driving. Everyone in the room was teary-eyed from the story he told. The students were then given time for questions and answers. They told us during the closing remarks that the event was very impactful and, that for some, the day had changed their views about being in a vehicle with someone else that texted or drank while driving.

To learn more, visit Shaw Cable’s news segment of the day. To start a P.A.R.T.Y program in your community visit the website.