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Review - The last dance

Party film leaves a matter of life or death in students' hands

Party film leaves a matter of life or death in students' hands

It's the morning after and it's not just a nasty hangover that Mark and his mates are dealing with. The teenagers have to face the reality that their friend Hannah is dead. This stark but powerful scene appears in a new interactive film by the British Red Cross called Life. Live It.

The 60-minute film (also available in 30- and 45-minute versions) follows Mark, whose parents have gone away, leaving him free to have a house party. But one of the guests, Hannah, becomes seriously ill after consuming too much alcohol. By 8pm she is vomiting, and soon she's picking fights with people. When Mark and Hannah's friend Alice find her later, she is unconscious but still breathing. Mark lies her on her back: a mistake that costs her life.

At crucial moments the film pauses, allowing students to discuss questions that appear on screen. What could go wrong? Who is most at risk? What would you do? They consider how the characters could help Hannah and what they would do differently. Would they call their parents? Do they know first aid? Would they have intervened earlier?

Young people often want to help in an emergency but lack the confidence and sometimes the skills to do so, according to recent research by the British Red Cross. Less than half of the 750 14- to 18-year-olds surveyed believed they could help someone who had collapsed after drinking.

Life. Live It aims to make first aid relevant to students. In the film, Mark shows how one simple action could have saved Hannah's life. The pushover - rolling an unconscious person on to their side - would have cleared her airways and stopped her choking on her vomit.

The film is not loaded with the negative potential of binge drinking: unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or attacks. Instead it shows what to do if things do go wrong. The story is finally retold with a happier ending - this time all the teenagers have to say is how embarrassing Hannah was. The point is clear: she may feel ashamed but at least she's alive.

Free copies of Life. Live It will be sent to schools in February 2013. Or, from December, teachers can order a copy from For more British Red Cross teaching resources, visit its profile on TES Resources: bit.lytesBRC.

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