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15 Minutes Program Shows the Dangers of Alcohol to Students



The West Covina Police Department recently spearheaded the successful "Every 15 Minutes" program at West Covina Hills High School. The name of the program stems from the startling statistic that someone dies as a result of an alcohol involved collision every fifteen minutes.

The program began on May 19th with a mock fatal DUI traffic accident in front of half of the gathered student body, complete with student volunteer victims, ambulance and public safety personnel, and an airlift to a hospital. "The Fire Department responded to an accident scene involving two heavily damaged vehicles, with a fire truck, a fire engine, and a rescue ambulance" said West Covina Fire Captain Jim Rudroff. "Firefighter/Paramedics deployed hydraulic rescue tools to extricate patients from the wrecked vehicles. One patient required emergency treatment, another had severe injuries and was airlifted to a hospital, and a third person was pronounced dead."

After this mock accident, a group of student volunteers were then removed from their classes, representing the fatality as the "living dead." While isolated from all outside communications and housed for a day under Police supervision, the student volunteers wrote letters to their families expressing their personal feelings about this tragic scenario of loss. Separately, their parents wrote similar letters.

At the next day's assembly, students and parents read from their emotional letters. Presentations by police personnel including Police Chief Frank Wills rounded out the event, showing students the dire consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"This two day event is the culmination of six months of planning," said Todd Black, School Resource Officer assigned to West Covina High School, "involving the coordination of police, fire, the West Covina Unified school district, students, parents, Royal Coaches towing company, Mercy Air helicopter ambulance, Citrus Valley-Queen of the Valley hospital, the Los Angeles County Coronor's office, the invaluable assistance of Rowland Unified School District Police Chief Don Fernald and many other volunteers. But if this event saves kids' lives by showing them the deadly effects of alcohol, we know it's all worth it." Conducted using private donations from many sources including the Katherine Castucci foundation, and time donated for free by the participating agencies, the Every 15 Minutes program is an excellent example of the City of West Covina's commitment to youth safety. For more information, call (626) 939-8557.

image of mock accident