“Two red, two DOA” at Gilpin School demonstration “crash”

Lynn Hirshman
Gilpin County

“Two red, two DOA” was the ominous radio report heard over the public announcement system outside of the Gilpin School on Wednesday, Oct. 3.In front of the school was a mock accident, with a bloody body hanging half out of one smashed car, while the driver, clearly intoxicated, ranted about getting help and the silence from the other vehicle was complete.
Within minutes, rescue vehicles from Timberline, Central City and Black Hawk had arrived at the scene, along with the Gilpin Ambulance — all personnel focused on rescuing the living and dealing with the dead. One emergency medical technician carefully placed two beer bottles from one of the vehicles on its roof — a clear demonstration of what had caused the “accident.”
Meanwhile, about 25 students walked down to the scene of the action, to observe all that was going on. This entire demonstration was both a training event for the various emergency services and an educational event for the students. Sponsored by the Colorado Alive at 25 program, a joint partnership between the National Safety Council, the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation, the demonstration was intended to be a wake-up call to young drivers who are involved in fatal crashes at more than twice the rate of all others.
According to Alive at 25, the first year for a newly licensed teenage driver is the most dangerous, with more than one in five involved in crashes. In Colorado in 2007,116 young drivers were killed; 86 (74 percent) were not wearing safety belts; 56 of these were ejected from the vehicle, like the “body” in Wednesday’s demonstration. More than 1,000 young drivers lose their lives each year in crashes because of an impaired driver.
Traffic was compressed to one lane in front of the school during the exercise, with drivers slowing down to check out the “accident.” For some time, one emergency worker was posted at the north end of the scene to advise drivers of what was going on, and to pace their travel through the area.