The Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) program at Fort Scott High School received $750 from Mercy Hospital Fort Scott on Friday, March 30 for on-going support of the program. The funds are used to purchase gift cards for students who pledge to wear seatbelts while in a motor vehicle as a driver or passenger.
Originating in the 2010-2011 school year, the Fort Scott High School SAFE student leadership team reported a 17 percent increase in seatbelt usage among students by the end of the school year. The student leadership team takes an observed assessment and calculates the number of students wearing seatbelts as they enter or exit school property. The assessment is unannounced. The baseline report in fall 2010 reported 69 percent of FSHS students were wearing seatbelts yet by the final survey in late spring 2011, 86 percent were utilizing seatbelts.
“We have seen an increase in the number of seatbelts worn by our students from last year to this year,” said Bryce Hindle, FSHS Senior and SAFE student spokesperson. “We are encouraged by the number of students who ask questions and are more interested in how the program works.”
“An event that was extremely successful this year was using Vince and Larry, the crash test dummies, to promote seatbelt awareness to the elementary and middle schools in Fort Scott,” Hindle continued. “The SAFE team wore the suit to encourage students to sign pledge cards.”
Pledge cards with student’s signatures who agree to wear seatbelts whether as a driver or passenger are placed into monthly drawings. The prize is typically a $25 gift card, but the final drawing for this school year will be an iPod touch.
FSHS SAFE team members are Cameron Woodring, Hannah Messer, Chalia Gray, Bryce Hindle, Michelle Buntain, Ackland Milton, Hanna Fredricksen, Michael Nighswonger, Zack Denton, Chris Carrillo, Dakota Crumby, Dale Savage, Katie Jo Hull, Ashton Mason and Jacob Bradbury.
“April will be a busy month for the FSHS SAFE Team,” shared Toby Nighswonger, FSHS Police Department Student Resource Officer. “The team will take a final unannounced assessment and host an event where the Kansas Highway Patrol will bring the Seatbelt Convincer and a rollover simulator.”
The rollover simulator is a pick up cab attached to a mechanism that mimics a vehicle rollover. A test dummy is placed in the cab of the truck without a safety restraint and put into action. Students may observe how a body is tossed about in a rollover scenario.
“The goal of the SAFE program is get students to buckle up,” stated Chief Ron Peterbaugh, Fort Scott Police Department. “Often, we find that if a youngster buckles a seatbelt, so will the siblings and the parents.”
“We appreciate Mercy’s support of the SAFE program for the second year,” Puterbaugh added. “When students practice seatbelt usage, they are reducing the risk of injury in a vehicle crash, complying to the law and preventing a trip to the hospital.”
Uniontown High School also participates in the SAFE program and has seen an increase in seatbelt usage among the student body as well.
Combining both Fort Scott and Uniontown High School data, Bourbon County ranks seventh in the state of Kansas for seatbelt usage among high school students at 86 percent. According to the 2010 – 2011 SAFE report, Bourbon County public high schools saw the sixth largest increase in seatbelt usage of schools participating in the program.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.