Calif. EMS Personnel and Firefighters Take Part in Bus Crash Drill
June 07—Fire trucks, a helicopter and an overturned bus were at Princeton High School on Sunday morning—not as the result of tragedy, but in preparation for a possible one.
Captain Christopher Osborne of the Sacramento River Fire Department organized a multi-agency practice drill to give emergency personnel hands on experience responding to a school bus crash. He enlisted the help of Colusa County high school students, who acted as the "victims" in the hypothetical scenario.
Other fire departments from Colusa and Glenn counties participated in the drill, in addition to an ambulance and an emergency helicopter.
"This is good training for us, and it's needed," said Captain Christopher Osborne of the Sacramento River Fire Department. "More training makes it more proficient, and working with our partners helps us become more unified." Behind Princeton High School's football field, the fire department set up an old school bus—tipped over on its side—near crumbling vehicles that "caused the accident." Emergency personnel ran through the process of identifying and hauling off crash victims. A few lucky actors were able to ride in the helicopter -- albeit strapped to a gurney.
"My daughter liked it because she got to fly; they went up the river and circled back," said Steve Stocks, an engineer for the Princeton Fire Department. "They let her sit up a bit so she could see."
Overall, Osborne and his team thought the drill went well, and gave everyone involved valuable experience.
"The kids were great actors," said Derrick Ash, of the Sacramento River Fire Department. "I now have a huge respect for bus drivers—you have to give them a lot of credit."
After the kids went home, the fire department stayed behind to begin tearing apart the bus; they didn't want to risk the actors getting cut by glass and other debris. Firefighters took a few different approaches to gain entry to the overturned bus, and some were more successful than others.
"The glass is set differently so they can be removed, not smashed," Stocks said. "Certain places are easier to remove than others. Today, we were taught the easiest ways to access the bus."
Fire crews removed the back door and sawed through the roof of the bus. After the roof proved difficult to cut, they decided it wouldn't be the most efficient method to reach passengers; the firefighters favored breaking open the back door.
Osborne said he plans to organize similar drills in the future to help keep emergency personnel on their toes.
___ (c)2017 the Glenn County Transcript (Willows, Calif.) Visit the Glenn County Transcript (Willows, Calif.) at www.appeal-democrat.com/glenn_county_transcript/ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.