Article by Edsel Hussey, 1 Year BA Journalism Student
Walking into the Alison Ginsell university building as journalism students, we were very impressed by the demonstration put together by the crash stimulation team. This felt exceptionally real and for a moment it got us into a journalistic mode. We got a sense of how it would be to witness and report on an accident of such magnitude while applying our professional code of practice. We all felt part of a vast rescue chain, working alongside the police, paramedics and the fire services team. This was not only a chance to practice reporting a story as journalists but also to engage and see how the other services work. Seeing how hectic it can be at such an accident scene, it allowed us to see why it can be hard to interview emergency responders at the scene. It showed that as journalists, we also have a role to play in such cases, majorly by not disrupting their work and treating each scene with respect and dignity.
One of the main highlights of this experience was the virtual reality video that was being shown. The video was about a car accident with three people in it and the events that led to the crash. Watching the video and seeing the paramedics, fire services and the police responding to the accident and the work done to rescue the victims helped us appreciate how real the demonstration put together by crash stimulation team seemed. We all identified mistakes that we took lightly while driving or as a passenger and saw the repercussions. Yes! It was a made-up scene, but from the facial expressions and feedback we got from people, you could tell it was a lesson and eye-opener for everyone, even the emergency teams who have to deal with such accidents frequently. A police officer at the scene highlighted how crucial it was for them to remind and teach people about road safety and its importance in preventing road accidents.
Another opportunity we had was to try on the fire service’s rescue gear. That gave us a vast understanding and appreciation of how hard it was to be a part of the fire service. The fire service rescue gear was weighty, and the oxygen backpack tank made it even heavier. We had to carry equipment while wearing the gear, and it was tough to walk, let alone run as fire rescue workers would have to in a real emergency. We were glad to take the clothing gear off. More importantly, we had a certain level of gratitude for our emergency help system. Interviewing the students and educators around the scene, they all said trying on the clothing gear and watching the emergency services work was a great experience to help immerse the general public into what actually takes place. ”It was an eye-opener, scarily insightful and yet practical,” said Ollie Funnell, one of the journalism students. The class spoke of how they didn’t realise how much pressure the emergency services had to cope with. Siobhan Addo-yeboah another1st year journalism student said it was a second reality check for her as she had been in a similar car crash.