Over the past year, the St. Clair Ambulance District’s public relations department has doubled.
The district has two public relations coordinators who are focused on community outreach among children and the elderly.
As part of her public relations job, paramedic Amanda Sullentrup’s primary focus is to reach out to St. Clair and Lonedell students weekly on drug education and prevention.
Within the past year, the ambulance district has put together a mock video about the dangers of doing drugs. The video shows a real 911 call between a mother who found her daughter on the floor from an overdose and a dispatcher.
After the 911 call, the video shows a mock scene of what it is like when first responders are dispatched to help someone who overdosed on drugs.
A presentation is included with the video as part of the district’s drug education program implemented for fifth-through 12th-graders at St. Clair R-XIII School District, Lonedell R-XIV District and St. Clare Catholic School, according to Sullentrup.
She said the district has received good responses from the presentation and video.
“Parents are very responsive to it. That presentation covers all the different drugs ranging from prescription drugs all the way to heroin.
“It covers the short- and long-term effects and more,” she said.
In an effort to promote drug prevention, the district has T-shirts for the public to purchase. Sullentrup said proceeds from the T-shirt sales will go toward the drug education program.
“(During) the month of August, we will be wearing drug overdose awareness T-shirts as our uniform to support that awareness.
“The way we see it is, prevention is key. If we’re not educating and preventing it, it’s just going to get worse,” Sullentrup said.
Children “are seeing it in their homes and that is a big part of the problem,” she added.
District personnel also teach CPR classes to St. Clair High School seniors. Community members can take CPR classes at the district, which are offered on the second Monday of every month for a fee.
Rachel Ahrens, also a paramedic and public relations coordinator, focuses more on senior residents and community events.
Ahrens puts together monthly education classes for residents at Crabapple Village, in addition to bingo games at the St. Clair Senior Center twice a month. Ahrens said those events are to let seniors know the district is there for them when in need.
“Our biggest things that we did last year would be the mock vehicle accidents,” Ahrens said.
The mock vehicle accident demonstrations were held at St. Clair High School.
“I believe it was a really good turnout. Everything turned out really, really well with that,” she said.
Community events being planned for later this year include a bike rodeo in conjunction with the St. Clair Elks, a health fair, a literacy carnival at St. Clair Elementary, serendipity day at Edgar Murray, a school supply drive, a mammogram screening event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a trivia night with proceeds to go toward Mercy Hospital Washington and more.
The drug awareness T-shirts are $15 for sizes youth large through extra large and $17 for sizes double extra large and larger. Other sizes are available upon request.
There is a limited supply, so additional orders can be made upon request. They can be purchased at St. Clair Ambulance District, located at 3 Paul Parks Drive, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash payment only will be accepted.