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El Paso County Colorado District 49

FHS students attend P.A.R.T.Y.

On April 11, students from the emergency medical technician course at Falcon High School in Falcon School District 49 participated in a day-long program geared toward preventing risky behavior, like driving while impaired or texting. The Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth program was held at UCHealthís Memorial Hospital North in Colorado Springs, Colorado.Matt Gibbs, P.A.R.T.Y. program coordinator for the Pikes Peak region who also teaches the EMT class at FHS, said he wanted the students to get a first-hand look at what types of situations they might face as EMTs. Gibbs, who is also a firefighter with the Falcon Fire Protection District, has been coordinating the P.A.R.T.Y. program for four years, he said.According to the programís website, the intent of P.A.R.T.Y. is to reduce the frequency and severity of youth injuries. ìThe P.A.R.T.Y. program is about prevention and awareness. Itís about learning through vivid and emotional experience. Itís about learning from real people and their very real experiences Ö . This P.A.R.T.Y. is about experiencing what happens when young people make a decision that changes their life forever.îThe students heard presentations from several experts, including the hospitalís chaplain, the El Paso County coroner, a flight paramedic, an emergency department nurse, and Drew Candin, who survived an accident that he caused.Candlinís story, ìYears of Bad Decisions and the Results,î describes how he ended up almost killing two people on his 26th birthday. He said he had been drinking at a few bars in downtown Denver, and decided to drive himself home at 1:30 a.m. While driving 50 miles an hour down Speer Boulevard, a 30-mile-per-hour zone, he ran two red lights and T-boned another vehicle, pinning it against the brick wall of a nearby hospital, he said.As he showed pictures of the accident to the audience, he said, ìI look at these pictures every time I give this presentation, and I cannot believe they (passengers in the other car) survived.î The police charged Candlin with two counts of vehicular assault, he said.After describing what the aftermath of his accident looked like, including the toll it took on his family and their everyday life, Candlin said, ìMy main point I want to get across here is that one decision can change your life.îìWe have these survivor speakers to really bring the realism to the students,î Gibbs said.Aside from the presentations, the students also participated in various activities, including distracted driving games to simulate driving under the influence, he said. Gibbs said the overall goal is to save lives; and, through the program, students start to think about their own driving, and they realize how many people can be affected by one bad decision.

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