Trauma Prevention Program Changes Lives

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CULLMAN – The Trauma Prevention Program has come to a close for 2014 and will resume on February 7, 2015. The program was formed by the partnership of Cullman Regional Medical Center and the Cullman County District Court Offices in an effort to educate teen drivers about the risks of driving recklessly.

The program is usually court-appointed to teen drivers who have received a minor traffic violation, but is also open to community teens who want to become better educated about the significance of safe driving. Since 2010, more than 300 participants have completed the half-day training class at CRMC. The program will be going into its fifth year in February of 2015. There are typically only five classes per year, and they are held on Saturdays from 7:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

The program is an interactive educational experience that focuses on educating teenagers on responsible driving habits while reinforcing the consequences of irresponsible driving. Upon successful completion of the program, teenagers with first-time tickets of minor driving offenses can have them removed from their driving records after paying court costs. The class is held in the Colonel Cullman Room in Professional Office Building II at CRMC.

Perrie Elrod, Education Coordinator for the program, said there are several people that volunteer their services with the program and she is grateful to them for their devotion. She listed the key players of the program as Dwight Davis, Director of Surgical Services at CRMC; Tony Tidwell, Pastoral Services at CRMC; Adriann Basch, Surgical Services Manager/Educator and Tonya Dunn, ER Manager/Educator. Elrod also thanked the efforts of Stacy Osborn with the Cullman County District Court who works from the courtside to get the participant list along with many other responsibilities required to get everything in order.

Adriann Basch said that she has always had a passion for serving others. When she chose the nursing profession, multiple doors opened for her with one of them being the chance to volunteer her time with the Trauma Prevention program. “This educational program informs and empowers young adults to make better decisions, such as decreasing their speed while driving and being aware of their surroundings. I am personally inspired by their willingness to listen, learn and grow. My hope and prayer is that through the Trauma Prevention program, multiple lives will be saved and tragedies will be avoided.”

Along with Basch, there are other volunteers who spend their time with the program, including three trauma survivor speakers: Philip Mahler, Charlie Pollard and her boyfriend Brandon Hayden. The judges that make a presentation are from the Cullman County District Court. The judges involved are Judge Kim Chaney, Judge Greg Nicholas and Judge Rusty Turner. Elrod said that the program would not be successful without all of these resources and she appreciates their help.

She said that the program funds itself. The judges decide that the participants are required to pay a $50 fee for the program. CRMC employees are allowed to send their children at no cost. The money is used to provide drinks, snacks, purchase equipment, and any other needs. Excess money (by group decision) may be utilized by request for special needs such as paying for the ER nurses to have Trauma Education certification. “We are now in the process of trying to save for a new “sims” manikin. We would appreciate any token donations toward this purchase as this is a very expensive piece of equipment. The manikin would also be utilized for education of our clinical staff,” Elrod said.

Elrod has a degree in respiratory therapy. “Through the years I cannot express how many times I watched families be broken when their loved one was involved in a car accident.” She said that whether the event caused a death or trauma, the family has to face a long recovery period and their lives are changed forever. “I am devoted to the program and love the group I work with. We feel that if we change one participant’s outlook, the program is a success!”

The Trauma Prevention Class Dates for 2015 are as follows: February 7, May 2, July 11, September 5 and November 14. Everyone is welcome to bring a friend and spend a morning learning important, possible life-saving information. Call CRMC for more information at 256-737-2000.