Bstreetsmart – re-enacting road crash scenarios to save lives
It is night-time and three teenagers are speeding to get home on time from a party. A mobile phone is being shared around. Suddenly, there is a flash of light followed by a screeching crash. In a matter of seconds James is dead, Claire is trapped and injured and the driver, Andrew, is unconscious. On the side of the road a motorcyclist is also unconscious, his broken body twisted.
The crash, based on real events, was re-enacted at Perth Arena in March in front of 8,700 high school students for the annual RAC bstreetsmart event.
DFES firefighters and other emergency service personnel worked with young actors to show what happens at a road crash and the aftermath. The students also had the opportunity to listen to speakers who have been directly impacted by road trauma and talk with emergency services personnel.
DFES Rescue Manager Garth Lawrence said the role of firefighters at a road crash was hazard management.
“We stabilise the vehicle and extricate people using tools such as the jaws of life.”
Road crashes are an all too familiar scene for Western Australian firefighters who attended approximately 2,900 road crashes in 2016 alone.
“As a firefighter it’s a fairly big part of the job and it can be quite stressful if people are badly injured,” DFES Rescue and First Aid Officer Russel Jones said.
“It’s all about team work. The goal is to work with St John and police and to make the scene safe so no one gets any further injuries.”
Last year 195 people lost their lives on Western Australian roads, with 17-19 year olds overrepresented in that figure.
RAC CEO Terry Agnew said he hoped this year’s bstreetsmart event, which targeted distracted driving, would help reduce the fatality and injury rates of young Western Australians by promoting safe behaviour among drivers, riders and passengers.
Kye Livermore, a Year 11 student with Chisholm Catholic College, said hearing people talk about their experiences of being in a car crash made him more aware of his own actions.
“Even minor choices can have big effects, like driving five kilometres over the limit or driving through puddles,” he said.
The event is run with the help of Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA Police, Royal Perth Hospital, St John Ambulance and the Theatrical Response Group.