Maitland City Hall cupola goes up
On April 18, the Maitland Fire Rescue Department, in conjunction with Orangewood Presbyterian Church, held its first mock DUI presentation for Orangewood High School students. The presentation was aimed at exposing high school students to the real life dangers and possible outcome of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The presentation included many different organizations coming together to present a vital message to students just as prom weekend was looming.
The organizations participating included: Maitland Fire Rescue Department, Maitland Police Department, Orangewood Presbyterian High School staff and students (as actors), Orlando Regional Medical Center Air Care Flight Team, Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Services and Courtesy Towing of Longwood, which provided the car. All of the organizations worked together for many months to coordinate a presentation that was very factual, realistic and thought provoking.
The opening scene on the football field started off with two high school boys going to pick up their dates for the prom. They enter a house and begin to take pictures as almost every family does. Prior to leaving, the father performs his protective duty of informing the driver to be safe and to follow the rules. The student replies with a “yes sir.”
The students arrive at the prom and start to have a good time. One of the students then pulls out a bottle of liquor and proceeds to pressure the others into drinking. After a little convincing the student who was entrusted to drive finally gives in and has a “few” sips. After a few minutes pass, the students get bored and go to a party at a friend’s house.
BOOM! The students who are watching hear a loud crash and a red tarp is pulled from the mock up wrecked car underneath; it shows a grisly accident scene. The driver gets out of the vehicle. He is mortified to find his date partially ejected from the front seat lying on the hood of the car. His two backseat passengers are unconscious. He calls 911 screaming for help.
As the student body watches in silence, the police and fire departments arrive on the scene and start to tend to the patients. The police take evidence pictures of the scene while the fire department pulls out their extrication equipment (‘Jaws of Life’). The fire department starts to remove the roof and doors of the vehicle to make access to the trapped victims inside. The student body watches and hears the crushing and shearing of metal as the fire department makes quick work of removing the obstacles to the victims. The first patient to be removed was the driver’s best friend. He is transported to the hospital by a waiting rescue unit. The girl in the back is severely injured and not responding to fire personnel. She is removed and is deemed too severely injured to be transported by ambulance. A helicopter is called into the scene and the students gasp as the helicopter lands. The patient is loaded and the helicopter powers up for a breathtaking take off.
At this point all patients have been taken to the hospital and the police step in to proceed with their investigation. They pull the driver to the middle of the scene (so the student body can see) and begin their DUI arrest. As the police officer’s handcuffs clicked on the wrists of the young driver, he is arrested and placed in the back of the police car and taken to jail.
The final scene takes place as the police officer and Orangewood’s own Pastor proceed to inform the deceased girl’s parents of this tragedy. Everyone is moved as the mother screams. The father refuses to believe it to be true. After the parents identify their daughter, she is loaded into a hearse and taken away. With the exercise completed, the students were dismissed back to class; exiting the demonstration the students passed by a casket, viewing a set up by Baldwin Fairchild as the final reminder of the consequences of driving impaired.
In real-life this scenario takes place countless times annually across America and according to one source (AlcoholAlert.com), in 2009 resulted in some 10,839 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (32 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year). The many entities presenting this program to the young audience and teaching staff that morning sincerely hope that a meaningful impact has been made here so these kinds of tragedies can be significantly reduced on a large scale.
Our goal was to make an impact on these students. If we can make them think twice before making a risky decision and save even one student/family from this devastation, then we have done our job.
— Engineer/Paramedic Michael McDowell, Maitland Fire/Rescue Department