HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Prom season and the Garland County emergency team have a tactic with hopes of reminding students to make smart decisions.
Several agencies in Garland County held “Operation Prom” for all high schools in the county.
Operation Prom is a 20-minute reenactment scene simulating an accident caused by a student driving while intoxicated after leaving prom.
Local law enforcement officers, EMS professionals, and firefighters responded to the mock scenes, just as they would to a real accident.
Garland County Coroner, Stuart Smedley is part of the brains behind the show and says he “strives to make it as realistic” as possible.
The scene has dead bodies in body bags, a helicopter, ambulance, fire trucks, wrecked cars and more to make students ask themselves, is that drink, drug, or text worth it.
Smedley says “Prom is just a scenario that [he] uses. This is something that happens Every day.”
Smedley says there have been 12 accidents in Garland Country so far in 2022 that resulted in death, but it’s unclear how many were Children.
Friday night was the first prom for Hot Springs High School since 2019.
Adriane Barnes, the public information official for Hot Springs High School says all 215 seniors attending prom, attended the reenactment.
“We hope that they are emotional, we hope that it scares them, and we hope that it makes them think and stop,” said Barnes.
Barnes says although the Hot Springs Trojan family hasn’t lost someone to drunk driving, they do know how it feels to lose a fellow classmate.
“We love these individuals, and we miss them and there are some very real and close reminders for our students of why driving responsibly and safely and taking care of each other is so important.”
She says that after prom, senior parents hosted a safe event for students to attend at the First Lutheran Church.