December 16, 2011
Every 15 minutes, someone dies as the result of an alcohol-related collision.
That's the focus behind a new program set to debut this spring at Lowry High School
"Every 15 Minutes" is a two-day program which demonstrates to high school students the impact drinking and driving has on themselves, their families, friends and the community.
The program is highlighted by a simulated traffic collision near the high school, involving an impaired teenage driver and a fatally injured victim.
The mock accident and its entire aftermath will be filmed and shown to students during an assembly on Tuesday, May 1. The program will kick off a day earlier on Monday, April 30 with a series of events and activities aimed at replicating the emotional impact of drinking and driving.
"Every 15 Minutes" will be presented by Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Rescue in partnership with the Humboldt County School District.
The program is known nationwide for its impact on students. School officials are hoping the same will prove true in Humboldt County.
"We are 100 percent supportive of this program," said Humboldt County School District Superintendent Mike Bumgartner. "Humboldt County has certainly experienced many tragedies over the years with alcohol-related collisions and this is just one more way-one more tactic-to help ensure that we don't experience any more of that."
Debbie Watts, principal of Lowry High School in Winnemucca, echoed Mr. Bumgartner's sentiments. "We love our students, we want them to make good decisions, we want them to be safe. If this program can help further that mission for us, we are 100 percent on board."
Funding for the program will come through community donations.
"We are hoping to partner with many, many local businesses and organizations to bring this program to Humboldt County," said Debbie Whittaker, an EMT-I with HGH EMS Rescue. "Every dollar, every in-kind service will bring us one step closer to helping to educate and, therefore, to protect our youth."
Pat Songer, Director of HGH EMS Rescue, said his agency has wanted to sponsor the program for many years. "Many of us have seen the impact this program has had in other communities," he said, "and we want the same level of awareness here in Humboldt County."
He added, "With the kinds of things we see during our calls, we are intent on doing what we can to help our students understand that drinking and driving do not go together."
For more information on "Every 15 Minutes," which will debut in Humboldt County next spring, or to donate money or in-kind services toward the program, please call Debbie Whittaker, HGH EMS Rescue, at (775) 623-5222, ext. 263.