BANGS — Utilizing graphic images and videos, two firefighter/paramedics from Florida showed students here Thursday the consequences of poor decision making.
Pat Kelly and Jeremy Cadorette, Orlando firefighters/paramedics, are members of Stay Alive From Education (S.A.F.E.), a nonprofit organization founded by paramedics and firefighters in Miami-Dade County, Fla. The group’s goal is to reduce teen injuries and fatalities occurring from decisions regarding underage drinking, illegal drug use and not wearing seat belts.
Clara Garibay, a representative of Ben E. Keith beverage distributors, explained Street Smart, the program developed by S.A.F.E. instructors.
“It is presented in a classroom setting, with a team of two certified paramedics walking through what happens at a trauma scene using the medical equipment they employ daily in their jobs,” Garibay said. “From taking a pulse, to loading a victim onto a backboard, to simulating an IV-line being inserted, students can see and feel what it’s like to try and save a life, and what it’s like to be the victim.”
Kelly told the juniors and seniors in attendance that the Street Smart program is “different than what they are used to when it comes to saying no to making bad decisions.
“We didn’t come all the way here from Florida to preach and lecture to you. We came here to show you — in graphic detail — what we see everyday on the streets because of poor choices.”
During a slide and video presentation, horrific pictures were shown of real accident victims.
“We see death quite often that deals with teens and car wrecks,” Kelly said. “Sometimes, we don’t have to cut a seat belt off of a victim, because, they weren’t wearing one. Seems kind of preventable doesn’t it?”
A majority of hands went up when Cadorette asked how many of the students wore seat belts. After students listed reasons for not wearing them, Cadorette said they were all excuses they had heard in other schools across the nation.
Cadorette also stressed the importance of having back seat passenger use seat belts.
“If you are sitting back there and don’t put it on, you are putting a target on the back of the head of the person sitting in front of you.”
Each subject was followed by a video clip or pictures to emphasize each point.
The finale found Bangs senior Allen McCullough being strapped down to a stretcher as Kelly and Cadorette explained in detail each procedure that would be necessary if students were in a car accident. Catheters, chest tubes, neck braces and other equipment were utilized.
Garibay said investing in the future is a priority to Ben E. Keith.
“Many of our employees in Bangs are parents, and we’re committed to helping our young people stay safe. “The paramedics’ real-life stories have a powerful, long lasting impact that we hope will encourage students to be responsible about the choices they make.”
Vincent Easevoli, executive director of S.A.F.E., said he hopes this style of presentation benefits students by showing them the power comes from making right choices.
“Whether that’s choosing not to engage in underage drinking or using illegal drugs, or choosing to wear a seat belt,” he said. “We want them to understand the consequences that come with their actions and the importance and value of their own lives.”
For information regarding Street Smart, visit www.safeprogram.com.