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North Dakota Tourism

Bowman County Courthouse
104 1st St NW
Bowman, ND 58623

Students learn Safety First at C.O.R.E. event

September 30, 2019

Bowman volunteer firefighters demonstrate the “Jaws of Life” to students. Photos by Frank Turner.


By Frank Turner

The event, hosted by Freshman Impact and led by Southwest North Dakota coordinators Chris Peterson and Megan Oase, addressed safety concerns and aimed to prevent injuries and accidents, the leading cause of death for students.

Peterson said they started the program to help save students’ lives.

“Because Megan and I are in healthcare, we know how important prevention is,” said Peterson. “Also, [the volunteers] show up wearing their uniforms, so kids can get comfortable interacting with them in a positive situations, not all negative.”

The event started with over 150 freshmen students from the surrounding areas watching and participating in safety-focused demonstrations and educational activities. Volunteers from Southwest Healthcare Services, West River Health Services, Bowman County Extension, Bowman EMS, Bowman Sheriff’s Department, Bowman and Baker Fire Departments, and Dakota Advocacy for Children each had a hand in creating their own safety station.

“[The freshmen] students attended learning stations on farm safety, drunk driving, seatbelts, fire and rescue, child abuse, life consequences and injury rehabilitation, and vaping,” said Peterson.

After the freshman finished their stations, the senior students took part in the event by creating a tragic scene, a mock trial, and a mock funeral. With the help of professional volunteers, the seniors acted out a drunk driving scene with a fatal car accident.

The scene depicted four intoxicated students driving on dirt road. In the fake scenario, the car rolls, resulting in one fatality and two injuries.

“The scene was facilitated by real professional, so it looked very realistic,” said Peterson.

Following the scene, a mock trial and funeral were held to express the significance of the situation. The hypothetical driver of the car was arrested and a mock procession was held for the victim. Although the funeral and trial were fake, Peterson said that the impact and emotions were real.

“By the end of the day, someone is walked out in handcuffs,” she said.

With such a large effort put forward by volunteers, Peterson said that she hopes the event will save lives.

“I think it makes an impact all over,” said Peterson. “…If kids ever consider ever getting in a car and carrying out destructive behavior, I hope they will remember this and think twice.”