SIDNE® Helps Youth PARTY In Ontario

High school students in northwest Ontario have joined with others in the community to PARTY. But they’re not doing the usual teen partying—this group is out to promote their Prevent Alcohol-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY). And they’re using the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience® (SIDNE®) and other Innocorp products to get their message across.

“PARTY is our injury-prevention program,” explains Paramedic John Beaton, a member of the Rainy River Substance Abuse and Prevention Team. “We base it on the idea of the ‘ripple effect.’ The idea that your choices and the consequences of those choices affect other people as well as you.”

The program works like this: A small group of students spends a day in a hospital going through the same process a severely injured person goes through, from ER to Intensive Care. Using a dummy made up like an injured person, students go from station to station, watch what happens to the injured person, and participate in certain procedures such as inserting a catheter. Each professional on the circuit is a PARTY program volunteer and educates students on how their poor alcohol-related choices might impact them, their friends and family.“We use Innocorp products and tools during the process,” Beaton says. “These resources are very useful because they’re so portable and hands-on. And the more hands-on, the better.” Another reason Beaton uses these products is that they foster wisdom in students’ decision-making processes. “They use their own minds to choose.”

The PARTY program uses SIDNE® on a separate day to drive home what the students have already learned. Classes are brought out one at a time to an obstacle course set up for SIDNE® demonstrations. Students drive SIDNE® and experience the effects of impairment on their ability to drive a motor vehicle.

“The kids always think they can do the course,” Beaton says. “It’s amazing, their reactions (when they can’t).”

Perhaps the best thing about the SIDNE® demonstrations is that they are a peer-to-peer experience. A number of students in the Fort Frances High School go through 80 hours of EMS training in the school’s First Responders program. They become on-site emergency responders at the high school and at sporting events. Students involved make a four-year commitment to the program. Part of that commitment is to undergo intensive training in how to run SIDNE® demonstrations both at their own school and at other schools in towns two hours or more away. These trained students are so involved; one of them is in charge of keeping SIDNE® in good shape.

“It’s peers training peers, not adults,” Beaton says. That, he explains, makes a much stronger impact.

The PARTY program has firm community backing. Adults like Beaton participate in the program, the school board is supportive, and the school curriculum stresses community involvement. Because of that, PARTY has indeed had a “ripple effect,” reaching 500 students last year. “We’re looking at expanding the outreach further out,” Beaton says. To that end, he just raised funds to purchase a medical simulator for the program.

Beaton got involved in the First Responders program in 2002. The PARTY program began in 2006, and Beaton added Innocorp products like SIDNE® in 2009.

“I saw the products on the Internet,” he says. “I liked them because they were so hands-on and versatile. I loved the after-purchase support and training that was part of the package.”

Participants learn first-hand about the dangers of alcohol impairment as they attempt to use the Distract A Match® program with Fatal Vision® Impairment Goggles.

Beaton uses SIDNE® and other Innocorp products in community adult outreach, too. He recently used the Phone Condoms at a trade show as giveaways. But he didn’t just hand them out. Booth customers participated in one or more activities using Innocorp products at the booth to “win” a Phone Condom. “They were quite a conversation starter,” Beaton says.

He is such a believer in Innocorp products that he’s even helped the company develop new products by providing prototype feedback and testing with students to get their reaction.

Seeing is believing, and that belief is having the ripple effect that is the goal of the Rainy River Substance Abuse and Prevention team. Could the team have accomplished its goal without SIDNE® and other Innocorp products? Maybe. But Beaton asks why not take advantage of a good thing that already exists, is versatile, and that drives home the message in an interesting and lasting way?

“Don’t reinvent the wheel,” he concludes.