Making an IMPACT

Alexis Barker

On Oct. 4, Newcastle High School again hosted Freshman Impact, an event that provides freshmen with exposure to several real-life issues and dangers. The day also allows police, fire and rescue agencies a chance to practice for real-life scenarios. 

Freshman Impact is put together by C.O.R.E: Community Organized Resources for Educating Youth, a nonprofit organization in South Dakota. The one-day prevention program for freshmen shows students the possible consequences of bad choices and their long-lasting effects, both physically and emotionally, that those choices can have on their bodies, family, friends and community. 

Lead coordinator Lisa Williams described the event as “a full day of learning stations” that cover a variety of safety issues affecting teens. The day includes a wreck scene involving children that engages agencies such as the Newcastle Fire and Police Departments, Weston County Sheriff’s Office and Newcastle Ambulance Service. 

“These learning stations are taught by local law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel and people that have been impacted by the effects of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” according to the C.O.R.E information packet. 

Personnel from Weston County, as well as surrounding counties, aided the C.O.R.E team throughout the day. Personnel from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation also participated. 

Both Donny Munger, chief of the Newcastle Fire Department, and Roger Hespe, owner of Newcastle Ambulance Service, told the News Letter Journal that one of the benefits of the exercise is the ability for the public to see what the different agencies do while out in the field, something that the general public may not always get to witness.  

The day, according to both men, also provides practice and training for any potentially life-threatening situations the police, fire and rescue crews may find themselves in. 

While Munger noted that fire crews are trained in the extraction of victims, the day does provide practice for more seasoned firemen, which he said is always good. According to Munger, the event gives the explorers, or firefighters under the age of 18, the opportunity to “play a bit” and get exposure to real-life scenarios. 

Hespe pointed out that  Freshman Impact allows him to provide triage training to his employees, which counts toward their job training requirements. The ambulance crews not only receive training in action but also through planning for the event, which they don’t always have. 

“It gives us training and the opportunity to work and train with other agencies,” Hespe said. “Preparing for the drill is a planning aspect we don’t always have, but more often than not you see the same situations at car wrecks — mangled cars and broken bodies.” 

He noted that the Freshman Impact scenario provides hands-on experience to his employees without the pressure of an actual situation. 

“The day really gives us the opportunity to work with other agencies and, together, preparing us for what we might experience in the field.” Hespe said. 


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