P.A.R.T.Y. 'crash' drives home sobering message

June 20, 2024

Paramedics Kelvin Singh, left, and Bob Leuf numbered among the many health professionals and first responders who participated in a recent mock accident scene for Grade 10 students in Olds.

Paramedics Kelvin Singh, left, and Bob Leuf numbered among the many health professionals and first responders who participated in a recent mock accident scene for Grade 10 students in Olds. Photo by Jonathan Koch.

Olds students learn consequences of bad decisions behind the wheel

Story & photo by Jonathan Koch

OLDS — It’s mid-morning. An unspeakable tragedy is unfolding.

A head-on collision in town has left three local youth in serious condition. First responders are on scene, dodging a de-energized power line as they attempt to safely extract one of the injured from the wreckage. RCMP gently intervene when a mother, distraught and crying out for her loved one, rushes frantically toward the vehicles.

Meanwhile, an officer leads a sullen and wounded young man away into custody, as AHS EMS prepare to transport a seriously injured young woman to hospital.

Thankfully, everyone walked away from the wreckage unhurt as all were participants in a mock collision, played out on May 8 in front of the Grade 10 class of Ecole Olds High School as part of The P.A.R.T.Y. Program — a one-day injury awareness and prevention event that aims to prevent alcohol and risk-related trauma in youth.

Alongside local first responders, community partners and volunteers, AHS EMS and medical staff were on hand to support emergency and trauma room simulations at the Olds Emergency Services Centre in the name of education.

“I think it's very important that we have the P.A.R.T.Y. program, because it helps the younger generation understand what happens behind the scenes,” says Kelvin Singh, acting EMS supervisor for Central Zone.

Singh, along with primary care paramedics Lila Bellingham and Bob Leuf, provided a hands-on overview of their ambulance to students while demonstrating the care they deliver to their patients at an accident scene.

“It provides a little exposure for EMS and our services in the zone,” Sing adds. “It also demonstrates our core values of showing compassion to our patients, and giving them the dignity and the privacy that they deserve.”

Dr. Jaco Hoffman, interim Central Zone medical director and Olds physician, led a team of local first responders in an emergency room scenario, taking students through the treatment of a trauma patient after they’re rushed into the ER.

Dr. Hoffman says he’s grateful to event organizers for inviting AHS to be part of an event that promotes safety and community care.

“We’ve had a wonderful day interacting with the children and all the services. It's all done in a collaborative spirit, and the kids go away from this today understanding there are serious consequences to poor decision-making behind the wheel.”

For Shrey Patel, the P.A.R.T.Y. Program drove home the importance of being responsible when you’re out for a good time. The Grade 10 student took the opportunity to use a hydraulic rescue tool at the accident scene, and says the emergency-room scenario made a lasting impact.

“When they were doing the surgery on the body, and then they found out it's dead — and then seeing the disappointment on the on the doctor's face after they found out they couldn't save the patient — it makes you realize how hard it is to be a doctor,” Patel says.

For Grade 11 student, Chelsea Black, playing a car crash victim gave her a new appreciation for the work first responders perform at an accident scene.

“It was a lot different being in the accident because you get to experience the EMS people and the police right next to you,” she says. “(I appreciated) the way that they talked to me, getting me through it, and saying what they’re going to do, so that we know what's going to happen.

“Now I know how much work they have to put towards making sure that I'm safe — and that everyone else around me is safe.”