April 16, 2011 in Washington Voices

Crews stage mock crash

Training exercise a lesson for kids, too
By The Spokesman-Review

Central Valley High School students stage a drunk driving mock crash at the school on Thursday. The Spokane Valley Fire Department often participates in the exercise.
(Full-size photo)

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews capped off their week by staging a mock crash at Central Valley High School Thursday morning.

“We had two patients and one deceased,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

The school’s Washington Drug Free Youth club organized the event, which featured Central Valley students as the fake crash victims. The scenario was that a drunk driver was texting and hit a car head-on.

The Fire Department participates in the events every couple of years, Clifford said. They are usually held before prom to graphically show students the possible consequences of drinking and driving. “We had 800 kids in attendance watching,” he said. “It’s as much training for us as it is a heads-up for students.”

The most notable call during the week of April 7-13 involved the spill of 100 gallons of diesel fuel in a long trail that began in the southbound lanes of Sullivan Road in the north 2400 block. The trail turned left on Euclid and continued for a couple of blocks before it stopped.

The Fire Department usually only deals with small fuel spills and uses cat litter to soak it up. That wasn’t going to work in this case.

“We called the county to bring a sand truck in,” Clifford said. “They dropped sand down and brought in a street sweeper. That would have been a lot of kitty litter. We would have cleaned out the store shelves.”

The rest of the 180 calls were minor, including a chimney fire, some downed power lines and illegal yard debris fires. The number of EMS calls was down significantly to 140. There were two calls reporting children playing with lighters or matches. “The kids must have heard sirens and taken off so nothing was found,” Clifford said.

A day care employee in the 300 block of South Dishman Mica Road reported finding a gas can with a rolled up paper towel shoved in the spout. “There was no burn marks on the paper towel or anything like that,” Clifford said. There were also no signs of spilled fuel and no one knows who put the can there or why, he said.

But the call that generated the most chuckles came in just after noon on Monday. A 4-year-old boy had located a pair of handcuffs and used them to lock his ankles together in the 1900 block of North Aladdin Road.

“The crews didn’t have a key and were able to use bolt cutters to get them off,” Clifford said. The boy was uninjured after his adventure.

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