An emergency drill today simulated a two-vehicle drunk-driving accident involving a total of 9 people. It served as training for all agencies and organizations involved in emergencies in the region, and was a demonstration for hundreds of students of Parker High School ahead of their Prom next week.
The initial call was made just after 9 a.m. by La Paz County Emergency Management’s Greg Bachmann, who let the dispatcher know he was initiating the drill. He then passed the cellphone to the only occupant who had managed to crawl free through the sunroof of the Chevy Tahoe she had been a passenger in, now lying on its side. The girl tearfully explained where she was to the dispatcher, who then responded, along with the rest of the agencies, as though the incident were real.
Arriving on the scene first were Parker Police Department, CRIT Police Department and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department. They carefully checked the conditions of the vehicle occupants and facilitated the arrival of Parker Fire Department. Arriving afterward were River Medical, Buckskin Fire Department, Care Flight, Native Air and others, including Parker Funeral Home which came to receive one simulated fatality.
Some occupants had vehicles cut from around them using the ‘jaws of life’. Access was gained to one occupant only by cutting the roof off the Tahoe.
The actors involved were taken to La Paz Regional Hospital and the Indian Health Service for treatment, some by road and some by air, giving area hospitals the chance to simulate a medical response to the arrival of several patients in serious condition at the same time.
The vehicles involved in the drill were from actual crashes, both involving real fatalities.
Bachmann narrated some of the events as they happened, citing the statistics that once every half hour, someone dies due to drunk-driving. Former student Mary Beckham took to the podium as the responders were wrapping up the scene to tell the story of her dad being killed in an accident involving alcohol, followed by Youth-4-Youth members reading some sobering statistics from Parker High School surveys on the subject.
The emergency response was regarded as having gone very smoothly and successfully by the agencies involved, who didn’t run into any significant problems at the scene. PAACE, La Paz County, Parker High School and the others involved in organizing the simulation hope it will prevent people drinking and driving, or getting into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.