Last week, a YouTube video went up with an important message told in a heart-wrenching way. It was an example of the Every 15 Minutes program, which started in California a decade ago, and is based on the statistic that every 15 minutes someone is killed in an alcohol-related car accident.
That statistic has increased to 45 minutes, and the program has a strong national presence. WMI Instructor Roger Bailey has been involved with Every 15 Minutes events for about a year, bringing his moulage (applying mock injuries with the use of makeup and molds) skills to the undertaking.
“The local sheriff, who organizes the program, googled ‘moulage,’ and I popped up for doing moulage for a WMI class,” Bailey laughed. Upon invitation to help, he immediately jumped in and, more recently, “dragged” his WMI colleague Sahale McCabe into it.
The two collaborate with state and local police forces, local fire departments and emergency medical services, trauma nurses, chaplains, and Life Flight operators to create a two-day program in which the effects of drunk driving are acted out within the student body.
On the first day, select students are removed from class by the Grim Reaper, “gouled up,” as McCabe called it, and returned to class in silence before participating in a mock accident, spending the night away from home, and writing “last letters” home. The second day includes an assembly in which the video of the previous day (like this one) is shown, guest speakers relate their own experiences of losing loved ones, students and parents have the opportunity to speak, and the entire community is encouraged to attend. Everyone is then given the opportunity to o sign a board pledging they will not drive drunk or get in the car with an intoxicated driver.
McCabe and Bailey learned moulage in their WMI Instructor courses, and together they have helped bring four of these events to the rural high schools of Lane County, Ore. Bailey said the dramatic approach to the program has the same effect scenarios do in WMI courses; students take home lessons better and learn more effectively in realistic settings. Both also tend to hit home with participants.
“Occasionally, people need to take a break in a WMI class because the scenario was too real for them,” he said. Counselors are on hand for Every 15 Minutes students for the same reason.
On the other hand, “the kids really like getting made up, as do our students,” Bailey added.
The two WMI instructors feel strongly about the value of the program and are honored to be involved.
“It’s an exhausting and rewarding two days,” McCabe said. “It’s impossible to escape with dry eyes, and difficult to even talk about without emotion.”