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‘Every 15 Minutes’ CHP Program Coming to Carpinteria High

Two-day presentation involves community members, CHP officers and emergency responders who want students to see first-hand the destruction caused by drinking and driving

On May 13 and 14, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will present the “Every 15 Minutes
program to students at Carpinteria High School.

The program is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors, challenging them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, the responsibility of making mature decisions, and the impact their decisions have on family, friends and many others. The presentation was developed to prevent drinking and driving, especially among teens.

The program is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety, and the California Highway Patrol is responsible for overseeing Every 15 Minutes in California and provides technical assistance and support in the planning and implementing of the program. 

On day one, May 13, one Carpinteria High student will be removed from class every 15 minutes, and then becomes one of the “living dead.” A uniformed officer and school counselor will enter that classroom and read each student’s obituary to those remaining in the class.

Throughout the day, tombstones for the “deceased” students will be placed in a mock cemetery on the campus.  At 10:15 a.m., a simulated DUI collision in the campus parking lots will involve pre-selected students. The Carpinteria Summerland Fire Department and AMR Ambulance personnel will respond to the collision and treat the victims, with two students and a teacher being declared dead at the scene.

A CHP helicopter air-ambulance will land on the soccer field and airlift a student victim to the hospital with major injuries. One other student, designated as a DUI driver, will be arrested for driving under the influence. 

On day two, May 14, at 10:30 a.m., junior and senior students will attend an assembly in the school gym, where a video of the preceding day’s events will be played, which will include footage of the aftermath of the collision (emergency room scene, death notifications, the courtroom conviction and sentencing of the student DUI driver).

Students who participated in the program will read excerpts from letters they wrote the night before at a retreat, sharing their feelings with their friends and classmates of what it felt to die without having the chance to say good-bye.

Family members of victims killed or injured in alcohol-related vehicle accidents will address the students, as will county emergency rescue personnel who have responded to collisions involving DUI drivers. In addition, a speaker will share a personal story of his loss in a DUI collision. 

Noozhawk staff writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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