MILLER CITY — A considerable amount of planning and preparation goes into holding a mock accident like the one the Miller City Fire Department held at Miller City-New Cleveland schools for the high school students Thursday.
The mock accident was the idea of Ken Hermiller, an assistant chief at the Miller City Fire Department. He said the fire department hadn’t held a mock accident since he worked there.
Hermiller said it took a lot of phone calls and coordination to get the different agencies involved in the event — Kalida Heavy Rescue, Life Flight, Putnam County EMS, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Hermiller first contacted Kerry Johnson, superintendent of Miller City-New Cleveland schools.
“We first started having conversations about doing this in October,” Johnson said. “Our fire chief thought it would be a good teaching opportunity for our students.”
Two speakers addressed students after the accident: Linda Lammers, whose son died in an automobile accident, and Paul Lenz, who was a teacher at the school when five students died in an accident in the late ‘70s, said Rick Barlage, an assistant chief with the Miller City Fire Department.
Hermiller found five students who were willing to play accident victims. Two of the high school volunteers were children of firefighters at the Miller City department, Sophomore Kylie Peck and Senior Jordan Barlage, Hermiller said.
“I went over to all the parents and asked if it was okay,” he said. “I explained what we were doing, and they were all okay with it.”
Before going over to the back parking lot of the school the students — Peck, Barlage, sophomore Nick Gable, senior Mark Kuhlman and senior Lauren Gable — met at the Miller City Fire Department and got into character by applying make-up, fake blood and a little chunky peanut butter for texture.
“I believe it’s a good message to provide people with,” said senior Jordan Barlage, who played the drunk driver in the mock accident. “They need to see this can actually happen to you.”
Miller City Fire Department Chief Tony Stechschulte met with those participating to explain the timeline.
“It can serve as a very real and important lesson to our students,” Johnson said. “You can talk about it and talk about it over and over again but simulating it and hearing testimonials from people directly affected by it can make a difference.”
Rick Barlage said Hermiller must have put in 40 hours of work just doing his part of planning the mock accident.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362