Extreme efforts to make a life saving point

Posted: Tuesday, May 03, 2005


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  CES rescue team use the "Jaws of Life" to take the top of the crashed vehicle in order to be able to extract the entrapped student victim.

Mock vehicle crash last week at SoHi makes a real point to students and adults.

The only special effects were make-up which reminded observers of how bloody and ugly a crash scene is when emergency responders arrive at a crash scene. The mood was somber and the some 130 students were not reacting like kids who got to get out of class on a sunny day to see people they knew in a student play, there was no poking, giggling, or kidding around. Observers of all ages were attentive to the life saving work that was going on before their eyes. "We can turn your parent's car into a convertible real fast when we need to," CES EMT Josh Thompson hollered to the student observers as the "Jaws of Life" was employed before their eyes and the top of the crashed vehicle removed in minutes.

The Mock Vehicle crash at Soldotna High School last week was orchestrated in every detail to simulate what can and has actually happened when a prom night celebration turns into a deadly nightmare because of drinking and driving. The simulation was so realistic that neighboring residents were all notified door to door in writing as to the time and reason for the exercise. Two cars were intentionally crashed into one another in the school parking lot and six students wearing prom-style formals and theatrical make up were placed inside before observers were brought to the scene.


CES rescue team use the "Jaws of Life" to take the top of the crashed vehicle in order to be able to extract the entrapped student victim.

Among the student actor victims were Katie Pankowski, "We looked like something out of a horror show, the scenario was my date who had been drinking t-boned another car resulting in my death but little injury to himself, which unfortunately is often the real life situation," Pankowski told reporters. SoHi senior Jacob Shapley played the drunk driver who was body searched, handcuffed, and taken away in a Police vehicle from the scene. "Playing this role really made me think about how a party we've been looking forward to all our lives can totally change in a split second and a guy can go from being cool to being a killer. It was actually pretty frightening when they ripped the car open it made you realize what a real crash was like, and feeling those cuffs slap on you, you know how real this could really be. No! I won't be drinking prom night," said Shapley.

CES Firefighter Josh Thompson said he came up with the idea of the training exercise because drinking and driving is a big problem on the Peninsula. "All the training we can get helps us in the future when seconds count and lives are in the balance of how well we do our jobs," said Thompson, who hopes to conduct similar exercises at other schools in the future.

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