Post written by Elena Tanner, Public Information Office Intern, summer 2014
From July 20 to 22, high school students from nine local schools attended the 2014 Team Spirit Traffic Safety Leadership Training Conference, held here in Cape Girardeau. For the past 20 years, the Team Spirit Program has been overseen by the Cape Girardeau Safe Communities Program, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traffic and Highway Safety Division. Throughout the conference, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department and the Cape Girardeau Police Department work together to present the importance of traffic safety to the students.
The Team Spirit Program works to empower students to promote safe driving behaviors at their schools and in their communities. The program focuses on such topics as underage drinking, speeding, safety belt use, drinking and driving, and driving and texting. During the conference students attended workshops, listened to guest speakers, and engaged in team building activities.
In addition, the students took part in a docu-drama, assisted by the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, the Cape Girardeau Police Department, the county coroner and the Cape County Private Ambulance. The docu-drama demonstrated to students what occurs at the scene of a car accident. An accident was staged in which an inebriated teen driver crashed into a light pole. One passenger was ejected from the vehicle, while four others remained inside. Once emergency personnel arrive at the scene, firefighters, the county coroner and emergency medical technicians extracted and stabilized the passengers using the jaws-of-life. Police officers questioned the passengers and performed field sobriety tests.
The Team Spirit Program is just one example of the many programs that the Fire and Police Departments participate in with the local community. If an actual crash were to occur, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department and the Cape Girardeau Police Department would work together to respond to the incident. Additionally, both departments not only respond to emergency calls, but also engage in regular training and community education programs, such as the Team Spirit Program.