South Peace News
Graphic scenes and clear messages about drunk driving were the focus of a mock scenario presented to students by Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth [PARTY] in High Prairie on May 18-19.
“Stand up and be a role model for your school, community, friends and family and be the one to say I will not drive impaired and always make the right decisions in my life,” says Amanda Oling, whose 55-year-old father was killed by a drunk driver in 2004, and burned beyond recognition.
PARTY was presented to Prairie River Junior High School in High Prairie and Atikameg School on May 19. Heavy rain forced activities inside the Gordon Buchanan Recreational Centre.
May 18, PARTY was presented to students of St. Andrew’s School and Prairie View Outreach School, both in High Prairie, Slave Lake St. Francis School, Gift Lake School, and Donnelly G.P. Vanier School.
“Please don’t put others through the pain I experienced,” says Oling, a former Calgary police officer.
“Could you live with yourself the rest of your life if you killed someone?”
Her story, The Impact of One Decision revised the presentation she updated since her first appearance in High Prairie a few years ago.
Alcohol has far-reaching results than just those victimized by the results and tragedies, she says.
“When you have alcohol in your system, paramedics can’t do anything but give you pain,” Ohling says, since drugs and alcohol don’t mix and cause negative affects.
When a 19 year-old male was sentenced in 2005 to four years in jail for impaired driving causing death, the judge said this type of conduct is completely unacceptable in our society, Oling quoted.
“Today [in 2016], why are people still doing it and not getting the message?”
She notes four people are killed in Canada every day by drunk drivers.
“Every decision you make impacts other people,” Oling says. “It’s never about you.”
Her website features a quote from an unnamed High Prairie student who heard Oling’s story.
“Thank you for the presentation, I was deeply touched by it,” says the student. “For you to go through such a terrible experience like that, then be able to talk about it in front of lots of people, you don’t know takes a lot of courage and strength.
“Thanks for putting your experience into educating people, and gaining awareness. I know I am not the only one who left thinking about you and your family.”
Distracted driving with social media devices has also grown as a significant risk to motorists on highways and byways, adds High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Dan Gillmor.
“A lot of drivers are distracted,” he says.
With visual recording features on those devices, he also requests people not record and photograph images on social media.
“Respect the process and the people involved,” Gillmor. “You have to take responsible action.”
Staff from High Prairie Emergency Medical Services agree.
“You have to make the right decision when you get into a vehicle,” says EMT Shannon Kuefler.
She advises people to report accurate locations and information when they phone 911 to help personnel respond promptly.
“We want to get patients to a hospital within one hour,” Kuefler says.
In rural and northern areas, saving time for a call is vital, she adds.
EMT Paul Brydson noted that responders are affected by the scenes that lead many in the field to suffer trauma that can impact their lives, families and network of influences.
Students also heard first-hand life and severe injuries from an emergency department nurse.
“It’s the innocent victims killed by a drunk driver that concerns me the most,” says RN Lori Zabolotniuk, a nurse with 35 years experience.
“The worst thing for me is when I know them or when they are young.”
PARTY locally is supported by AHS Addictions Services, AHS Mental Health, Alberta Traffic Safety, the Alberta Brain Injury Network, AHS Emergency Medical Services, High Prairie RCMP, High Prairie Fire Department, Chapel of Memories, the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County.