Mock-Accident Drill Comes to Life
By Eugenia Moskowitz
Washingtonville High School’s annual mock accident drill took place on May 22 on the upper field. The junior class filed into the bleachers and witnessed a scene unfold that principal Brian Connolly said he hopes does not play out in real life.
Tarps pulled away revealed a head-on car crash with students from the drama department’s Masque & Mime Society dressed in prom outfits and theatrical makeup playing the parts of the victims. As the 911 system is alerted by one car passenger, Connolly narrated the events that take place in any emergency situation in the so-called “golden hour,” the first crucial sixty minutes where timely treatment and transportation is essential for survival. As the minutes ticked by and the Washingtonville Police Department, Washingtonville Fire Department, Blooming Grove Ambulance, and Ferguson Funeral Home responded to the scene, Connolly explained what rescue events were happening, and which victims were beyond rescue.
Police secured the scene, managed traffic, and detained the driver of the vehicle who, upon investigation, is found to be drunk. Firemen cut victims out of the twisted wreckage. Ambulance personnel treated victims and transported them to nearby hospitals. And funeral personnel took away two students in body bags.
Connolly explained that while drunk driving incidents are down, distracted driving, due to cell phone use, is up. “Everybody take out your cell phones,” Connolly said. “Take a look at that last text you received. Read it. Is it important enough to die for? Take your eyes off the road for three seconds at 55 miles per hour, and the outcome is obvious.” He told students to set their phones to Do Not Disturb while driving, and that if you’re a passenger, don’t ask the driver to look at something on your phone. He also told students that no matter how angry your parents may seem at having to come pick you up in the middle of the night, it’s better than them getting that phone call telling them their child is dead.
Washingtonville High School’s SRO Charlie Martin explained that his job has required him, at times, to inform parents that their child has died in an accident. “Three weeks later,” he said, “your friends move on. You do not. They get jobs and go off to college. You do not. Your little sibling who you said you were going to take for ice cream? You don’t.” As somebody who is with the students every day, and knows them well, he implored them, “Make good decisions. You only got one life.”
CAPTION: The entire 11th grade class watched the annual mock accident drill at Washingtonville High School on May 22, as emergency personnel from Washingtonville and Blooming Grove responded to a two-car head-on collision involving students on their way to prom. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)