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U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Stephen Liszewski, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, explains his plan to lower the number of traffic incidents to local government workers on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 1, 2022. Presenters with Stay Alive from Education provided “Street Smart” training to Marines to raise awareness of the consequences of unsafe driving. The SAFE team is a group of firefighters and paramedics that performed an interactive presentation to educate audiences on car accident scenarios. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Sheng)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Sheng

Florida’s SAFE team educates US Marines on the consequences of unsafe driving

8 Sep 2022 | Lance Cpl. Thomas Sheng Marine Corps Installations Command, MCICOM

To prevent future drunken driving incidents, the Marine Corps Installations Safety Office invited the Florida SAFE team to share their experiences responding to emergency car crashes and impart knowledge through an interactive performance.

“What separates us from other courses and presentations on traffic safety is our experience in the actual field,” said Oscar Duran, a firefighter paramedic and presenter with the Florida SAFE team. “We cover all the medical procedures, and the consequences that can result in long-term injuries and fatalities that stem from poor driving choices.”

Marines attending the hour-long interactive workshop volunteered and acted as car crash victims for a medical demonstration. The presenters acted out responding to the crash, finding one survivor, and performing life-saving procedures.

When paramedics respond to a life-threatening car crash, they may need various tools to save a life; the presenters described how they used medical equipment from neck braces to IV therapy fluids.

“We educate audiences by focusing on the injuries and fatalities of car accidents,” said Duran. “Many young adults believe that car accidents won’t happen to them, but we show them the harsh reality.”

The “Street Smart” presentation includes many graphic images and videos, supplemented by an explanation of the common accidents that can lead to paraplegia. While the subject matter can be disturbing, the presenters said they incorporate some light-hearted moments to ease more sensitive viewers and make the topic easier to digest.

According to Duran, the SAFE team “Street Smart” presentation has received highly positive feedback. Winning multiple awards for their program, the SAFE team has presented to drivers of all ages and professions, from high school students to military personnel.

“DUIs harm our service members’ careers,” said Sgt. Efren Arias, a driving instructor with the MCIPAC Safety Office. “I’ve seen meritoriously promoted Marines leave the Marine Corps more than once as a private because of a mistake they could have easily prevented.”

After travel restrictions eased, Marines took advantage of the renewed opportunity to see Okinawa. This means more drivers on the roads after years of lighter traffic and less driving practice.

“These presenters were very forthcoming, upfront, and transparent,” said Arias. “It was a better depiction of drunken, distracted, and drowsy driving than your typical driver safety course.”

Arias has already incorporated aspects from the SAFE “Street Smart” training into his own courses, remedial driving course and the E-3 and below driving course, which he teaches on camps Foster and Courtney.

“This presentation was very impactful,” said Arias. “It definitely strikes a chord to see these car crashes and the people that sustained harmful injuries."

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