On Wednesday, May 6, combined resources from An Garda Siochana, HSE National Ambulance Service, Fire Service, West Cork Rapid Response and the Red Cross organised a traffic collision simulation exercise in Bandon.
In excess of 250 Transition Year students from three secondary schools in Bandon town, namely Saint Brogan’s College, Bandon Grammar School and Hamilton High School attended this Road Safety Awareness exercise. Initially, all the students gathered in the clubhouse of Bandon Rugby Club, where they were addressed and given presentations by the emergency personnel present. Following these presentations, the simulation exercise was held at Old Chapel.
With the assistance of local Gardai, led by Sergeant Tom Lehane, the main N71 Bandon to Clonakilty road was closed at Old Chapel for a period, and traffic diversions were put in place. A two car collision resulting in a number of fatalities was simulated and volunteer students from Hamilton High School played the part of the victims and survivors of the crash. At various stages of the simulation, the exercise was paused, and utilising a Public Address system, the students were informed of what action was being taken by the emergency services, and why.
This simulation is of great benefit to these future drivers, as it demonstrates the harsh realities of what exactly is involved in a traffic collision. It is highlighted that no one goes out with the intention of being involved in a collision, but due to poor habits and poor judgements, serious consequences arise, and lives are lost. The effects of speeding are explained, and the importances of wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone whilst driving, and drink or drug driving were also discussed in the course of the demonstration. Emphasis was also placed on the fact that all road users have a part to play in road safety, whether they are a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian.
Garda Damian White, Community Garda based in Bandon, would like to extend sincere thanks to the HSE National Ambulance Service, especially Barry Hayes, Bandon Fire Service, led by Station Officer Aidan Buckley, and Dr Jason van der Velde of West Cork Rapid Response. Thanks also to the members of the Bandon branch of the Irish Red Cross, and to Marie O’Donovan who applied the casualty make up. John O’Donovan of O Donovan’s TV and Electrical kindly provided and operated the PA system, and Phillip Cross of Phillip Cross Motors assisted by providing the vehicles involved and in their safe removal after the exercise. Bandon Rugby kindly allowed their clubhouse to be used for the presentation to the students before the simulation. Killian Glennon and James Kelleher were very effective in playing the part of the victims and survivors. The feedback from the students and teachers from all participating schools was very positive.