One Dead, Three Injured, Two Critically at Evergreen High School Mock Accident Exercise

The Metamora-Amboy Fire Department, with assistance from the Lyons Fire Department, Richfield Township Fire Department, Fulton County EMS and Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and Mercy Health Life Flight, conducted a Mock Accident training exercise at Evergreen High School in front of an audience of Evergreen students from the Junior and Senior classes.  With the Evergreen prom and after-prom this Saturday evening as well as the soon-to-follow graduation ceremony and subsequent celebrations, the goal of the exercise was to emphasize the potential dangers and consequences of driving while impaired due to alcohol or drug use or distracted driving, especially at a time of the year when high school students are more likely to indulge in illegal intoxicating substances.

District Superintendent Eric Smola addressed the student prior to the simulation.  “This is kind of a wakeup, a reminder of how fragile life is, how easy accidents can happen and how severe they can be,” he said.  “We have a number of agencies here to help us today and we want you to give them your full attention. If you have any kind of issues or concerns at the end of it, we do have people available to talk to.  So, it’s critical you give them your full attention.”

Mr. Smola then turned the exercise over to Metamora Fire Chief Jessica Geer, who happens to be an Evergreen High School alumnus.  “We’re here today because of our concern for all of you.  Obviously, as First Responders, the ones who come to the accident scene, we don’t want to see any of your smiling faces in this vehicle.  We don’t want to see any of you mangled or injured,” she stated.

Chief Geer told the students that, statistically, they are in the demographic that experiences the highest rate of injury and death due to traffic accidents.  As of April 24th, traffic accident deaths in 2022 stood at 1,154, an increase of 150 fatalities compared to 2019, she added.

“I want you to take a moment and look around at your fellow classmates.  There is a strong possibility that one of you could be injured or killed in an automobile accident.  I consider that a terrible waste of life,” declared Chief Geer.  “If I can do anything to prevent that, I want to.  That’s why we’re all here today.”

The Chief then explained the “Golden Hour”.  A time frame of 60 minutes that begins at the moment of the accident when a severely injured victim has the best chance of surviving if they can be transported to a hospital.  She emphasized how much critical time is expended from the phone call to report the accident to the intervals of each of the first responders arriving and carrying out each task of treating each victim and getting them to the hospital.  During the demonstration, the amount of time elapsed was announced between all the intervals.

The accident scenario for the demonstration was as follows:  Two cars, each carrying two teen-aged students crash head-on into each other.  Alcohol use and distracted driving was involved.  One driver was not wearing a seatbelt, was critically injured and died in the short few minutes before EMS arrived.  The passenger in the second vehicle was also not wearing a seatbelt but survived long enough to be treated first after a triage was conducted on all victims and was transported to the hospital by Life Flight.  The passenger in the first vehicle was also severely injured and was treated on the scene then taken to the hospital by ambulance.  The driver in the second vehicle suffered the least severe injuries.  He admitted to drinking alcohol, gave his statement to law enforcement and was arrested and handcuffed at the scene. 

What the Evergreen students witnessed in this demonstration was everything that takes place in the minutes following a tragic but preventable accident.  That included the outstanding and professional work carried out by the first responders to save lives.  But it also included the heart-wrenching moments of a mother who arrived on the scene to find out her 17-year-old son was the deceased victim.  It was all an act today but it is something that is played out every day on our roads and highways. 

Chief Geer asked the students to think if there was someone, they knew personally who had died in a car accident.  “I’m sure you can all think of one.  Unfortunately, some of us can think of more than one,” she said knowingly.  “The purpose of this demonstration today is to prevent any of you from becoming a memory.”

Click on the link above to access photos from the demonstration.

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