Students crossing the Drillfield today may have to walk around two mangled cars and a landing medevac helicopter to get to
The sirens and rescue vehicles are all part of an annual mock DUI crash orchestrated by the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, along with the Blacksburg Fire Department and the Virginia Tech Police Department.
The mock DUI demonstration will begin at 5:30 p.m. and serves as a training exercise for the VT Rescue squad, as well as a demonstration of the dangers of drinking and driving for students.
“The mock DUI is to heighten awareness that DUI crashes are real,” said J.T. Jones, a junior construction engineering and management major and president of VT Rescue.
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VT Rescue will treat the exercise as they would an actual emergency, providing a realistic response. As if it were a real call, the police and fire departments will also be on the scene.
The section of Drillfield Drive between Price Hall and Davidson Hall will be roped-off for the demonstration, where two damaged cars will be placed to simulate a frontal collision, Jones said.
An actual dispatch will bring VT Rescue and the fire department to the scene to respond to the drivers, Jones said.
And police officers will arrest the drunken driver, who is played by an actor. A public address system will explain the proceedings to onlookers.
As in some actual crashes, victims need to be removed from mangled vehicles. In an effort to portray the scenario as realistically as possible, VT Rescue will be using special life-saving equipment.
“We have our own special operations truck that has a combi-tool that is similar to the ‘Jaws of Life,’ and we use that to cut off the top of the car to get access to the patient,” Jones said. “We then have cribbing to stabilize them.”
The Carilion Clinic will dispatch a helicopter from the New River Valley Medical Center to land near the “crash.”
In an emergency, first responders, such as VT Rescue, would provide immediate care to victims with severe injuries who would then be airlifted to a hospital.
“This is the worst-case scenario, where someone is hurt, and they need to get medevaced out in a helicopter,” Jones said.
Abby Baer, a sophomore horticulture major, remembers seeing the mock DUI crash last year and said the scene was
“It was really realistic,” Baer said. “The firefighters and EMTs were really good at making it seem like it was real life.”
VT Rescue responds to emergencies on campus, and Jones said he and his team often respond to alcohol-related calls.
“This is just to help college students who think, ‘I can go out and drive and make a quick drive back to campus even though I’ve had three or four beers,’” Jones said.
DUIs happen all the time in the U.S. They’re a huge killer anywhere.”