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Students learn about Safety and Health at BCC Spring Fling

By Erin Smith

Students, faculty and staff of Bladen Community College enjoyed a warm spring day while learning about the dangers of driving drunk, visiting foreign countries, and learning how to perform CPR.

Exhibits included using stationary bicycles called Blender Bike to make smoothies and salsa, a virtual reality tour of Europe, Japan and the Anne Frank House, demonstrations of the Bladen County K-9 officer Jaxx, CPR demonstrations, and simulations of driving drunk. Cape Fear Valley’s air ambulance was also on display.

Crystal Dowd, with Bladen Community College, said that each year the Student Government Association puts on the Spring Fling event.

“This year they want to share some educational things with our students and also promote health and safety,” said Dowd.

Dr. Amanda Lee, Bladen Community College President, noted that the event is an excellent opportunity for the students at the college to learn about health and safety.

Dr. Lee said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact with public service officials. I’m excited about everything we are doing (to promote health and safety).”

Bladen Community College students BJ Beatty and Azarius Johnson tried their hand at making healthy smoothies using the Blender Bikes and food. The Blender Bikes were a real treat for everyone as you added your ingredients to the blender, attached the blender to the bicycles then climb aboard and utilize the bicycle to mix your smoothie or salsa.

When asked what drew him to the Blender Bikes, Johnson said, “I want to try something new and I like to try stuff.”

Ethan Martinez-Sanchez decided to try the impaired goggles golf cart simulator provided by the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was an experience,” said Martinze-Sanchez.

The goggles create blurry vision and give the wearer a sense of what it is like to be impaired.

“It is not something you want to experience while driving your car,” said Martinez-Sanchez after his turn on the golf cart.

Sgt. Gary Turlington with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, said the golf cart was donated to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office by the Elizabethtown ABC Board for the purpose of educating young drivers. Sgt. Turlington said it gives them the chance to experience the affects of an appreciable amount of alcohol when they are wearing the special goggles.

The golf cart course presented a challenge to many that attempted it.

The NC Highway Patrol also had their virtual reality simulator on the premises as well. Trooper M. Elliott  said the simulation tool gives the Highway Patrol an opportunity to talk to young drivers about the subject of impaired and distracted driving. The simulator allows Trooper Elliott to add various levels of impairment to the virtual reality tool as the driver attempts to master a roadway while impaired.

“This is the latest system for the Highway Patrol and it gives us the ability to speak to our target audience which are 16 to 20 year olds,” said Trooper Elliott.
He explained the simulator allows the driver to experience what it is like to drive sober versus driving under the influence.

“It does a really good job of starting the conversation,” said Trooper Elliott.

The driver, once they have their virtual reality glasses on, starts driving the simulator at a sober level and then Trooper Elliott added various levels of impairments based on the number of drinks. The driver will continue to operate the simulator until it reaches a high blood alcohol level and the participant gets a sense of what driving while severely impaired is like.

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