‘Every 15 Minutes’ shows Dimond High students the perils of impaired driving

Dimond High students were shown the perils of impaired driving in an "Every 15 minutes" demonstration.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 8:39 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Fire Department, Police Department, Providence Alaska Medical Center and Dimond High School teamed up together on Wednesday to bring students to the front lines of a mock EMT response to a drunk driving scene through a production called “Every 15 Minutes.”

Students from Dimond High School’s theater department portrayed different characters who got into a car accident where alcohol was involved.

Angie Felland, a senior at Dimond, acted out a character whose sister was killed in the crash. She said she hopes her classmates will understand the impact impaired driving has on a community.

“So many people and kids in high school these days are going to parties and drinking and there evidently... there can be deaths or serious injuries that can come from that,” Felland said. “I think it’s really important to just show to people the actual outcome.”

This was the first time the Anchorage School District had hosted the production since 2016. Dimond High School teacher and librarian Kristen Melican-Nevala said she is excited to have the simulation at their school this year, as it brings to life the grim reality of underage drinking and driving.

“I’ve been here for 26 years and there’s been way too many students that have been involved in that, and so I see the reality of it every day,” Melican-Nevala said. “I think kids sometimes think they are invincible, and nothing is going to happen to them.”

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 15% of fatal motor vehicle accidents that involved drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 involved a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or higher.

“People who arrive home safely are just on borrowed time,” Krista Ralls, the trauma program manager at Providence Alaska Medical Center, said.

Anchorage police said that on a monthly basis, they arrest around 150 impaired drivers. Dimond School Resource Officer Jon Butler said he hopes the simulation will shine a light on the consequences of impaired driving.

“What we’re doing here today is highlight, or put a spotlight on the kids, as they go into the prom season,” Butler said.

The simulation provides students with a realistic look at what goes on during an emergency response. The simulation included a sobriety test, rescue attempts and the characters dying and being placed into a body bag.

“I hope they really see this for what it really is, and not just another lecture,” Felland said. “I hope they see it as, ‘Wow this can really happen and this is how it impacts every individual person that was involved.’”

King Tech High School also participated in the event on Wednesday by filming the simulation. The school will be compiling its footage and creating a PSA to be shared with the entire Dimond High School student body.

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