“Don’t drink and drive.”
We’ve all heard these words. But to make them stick, community members working with South County Hospital ER/EMS Committee and the Narragansett Fire Department gathered together to film a short video entitled “The Call."
The video, shot last summer, portrayed a group of teenagers who got into a horrific accident while driving home from a party at which they had been drinking.
“In the video, we were having fun and talking, and a group of people were fighting over who was going to drive,” South Kingstown High School senior Kelly Burnap reported.
Burnap, who acted as a partygoer in the video, recognized the driver’s irresponsibility. “Nobody was really thinking of their actions at the time,” she said.
Many hands helped out in the project, mostly from the South County Area. Involved organizations were the Narragansett Fire Department, Narragansett Police Department, South Kingstown Police Department, SKEMS, the Union Fire District, Certified Towing, Hope Valley EMS, Alert Ambulance, and Service Statewide.
Joe Arsenault, nationally renowned for his expert “moulage” techniques, lent a hand in applying mock injuries to the actors, an experience which felt particularly
real to Kayla Quirk of Warwick, who portrayed the drunk driver.
“Everything felt so real,” Quirk recalled. “The blood, the glass, the dented car, the airbags… Everything was so realistic, and it was scary. Just acting as if I was in a car crash really made me nervous to drive."
Quirk, the SADD president at Pilgrim High School, hopes that viewers will take away the same message that she did. “Being the drunk driver was helping me see drunk driving from a different perspective,” she expressed. “And even though I wasn't really drunk, or really driving, I hated myself for what my character did.”
“Most underage "drinkers" don't realize how drunk they are ’til it's too late,” explained Lee Singer, RN, producer and a storywriter for the video. “They aren't aware that the three drinks they had over the past hour can act cumulatively in their system, getting their blood alcohol over the legal limit."
“Sometimes just buzzed, which is also illegal, is an excuse that we hear,” she continued. “In some cases, the underage drinker's inexperience is such that they become alcohol poisoned.”
The SADD organization reports that motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death among teenagers.
“Alcohol is more readily available, with fake ID's, [and] movies, music videos, and songs [that] make being drunk seem ok, or even glamorous,” Singer expressed.
Quirk certainly remarked this through portraying a drunk driver in the video. “Being arrested was another tough part,” she began.
“Getting read my rights, getting hand cuffed and then escorted to that cop car, made me as the actor actually feel shameful and scared,” she stated. “Trust me, you will never see Kayla Quirk in hand cuffs... Especially after seeing that!”
“Accidents are bad enough when you don’t drink, but it’s even worse when you do drink,” Burnap enforced.
The video, directed and edited by Nic Carcieri at Portalcomics, is part of the community’s effort to raise awareness of drunk driving.
“The purpose of our video is to show that alcohol is, in fact, not glamorous,” Singer concluded. “We feel that if we can save a life, we can save a community.”