At just after 1 p.m. on Thursday, the fire alarms in Oakmont were sounding full-force.
There's been a crash on Third Street right in front of Riverview High School. When Oakmont police Chief David DiSanti arrives on scene, he rushes to the site of the crash to check on the victims—one girl is dead on arrival.
"I did the sign of the cross and said a prayer, and I asked God to bless her," DiSanti said. "Unfortunately, it's not the first time I've been faced with this."
Luckily, this time it wasn't real.
Law enforcement and emergency personnel from the Oakmont Police Department, Verona Police Department, Oakmont Volunteer Fire Department, Verona Volunteer Fire Department, Rosedale Volunteer Fire Department, Lower Valley Emergency Medical Services and STAT MedEvac all took part in a mock crash for the students of Riverview High School. Plum Emergency Medical Services was on standby in the community.
With prom taking place tonight, Friday, officials wanted to show students what could happen if they weren't responsible behind the wheel.
During the mock crash, one driver was arrested for driving under the influence, two passengers sustained injuries, one was taken to the hospital via helicopter and one died. The cars involved in the crash—donated by Twilight Towing in Penn Hills for the activity—had to be cut with the jaws of life in order to get the crash victims out.
DiSanti said he hopes students really take in the "profound" message of the exercise.
"Prom is one of the biggest party times of the year," he said. "We wanted to show the kids how quickly things can go wrong if they're not paying attention—whether it be from drinking, texting or horsing around.
"It's a big responsibility to operate a vehicle, and if you make a mistake, you have to deal with it for the rest of your life."
As high school students watched on while police officers and emergency personnel attended to the injured students, you could see the shock on their faces. Some even mentioned how real it felt, even though they knew the whole scenerio was fake.
"We went through the whole scenerio based on reality," DiSanti said. "I hope to God we never have to respond to something like that. These kinds of things can be prevented."