Mock bus crash tests agencies’ talents and teamwork

By Allysha Newton
Louisburg Herald – April 2, 2014

Pictures

A call went out to area emergency services Friday morning that no police officer, sheriff’s deputy, firefighter or paramedic wants to hear — a school bus full of children, the dispatcher said, had rolled over twice before crashing into a tree at Lewis Young Park.

And while all the participants in that mock bus accident training exercise hope they never have to deal with a real accident of this severity, they know now that they’ll be more prepared if one does happen.

This massive multi-agency undertaking sponsored by Miami County Emergency Medical Services has been in the works since August, Miami County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Gibbs said. About 10 agencies from Miami and Johnson counties participated in the exercise, as well as dozens of volunteers who acted as victims and parents.

After the initial call went out, the scene of the accident was a flurry of activity. Miami County EMS, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Miami County Medical Center, Louisburg Fire and Police departments, Johnson County Fire District No. 2, Johnson County ECC and LifeFlight Eagle were all there to help free patients, contain the scene, provide medical attention and transport patients to area hospitals.

Organizers made sure the event was as real as possible. Patients were covered in fake blood, obstacles were put in place to make sure the operation wouldn’t go too smoothly, and one unresponsive patient had to be flown to the hospital via LifeFlight from a ball field. A triage center was set up near the scene of the accident, and another bus was used as a giant ambulance.

Amid the buzzing radios, screaming “victims” and whirring helicopter blades, personnel had to find a way to ensure that they were working together — as quickly and efficiently as they could.

“We work together when we’re having a big incident, but we don’t always get to train together,” Gibbs said. “It’s time-consuming but it’s worth it. We’ve got great emergency responders in this county. It’s neat to see them work together in an incident that’s not really true.”

As medical and fire officials worked to free and treat patients, administration and faculty from USD 416 had the difficult task of identifying the names of students on the bus through wireless devices. They also faced an even bigger challenge — calming down hysterical parents looking for their children.

“The big key to this is learning how to get those children back to their parents, because parents are obviously going to be upset,” Gibbs said. “So it’s about building that trust that we have a plan to get them back together on the scene. We have a great plan at schools, to get them released, so we are able to test that plan with parents coming out to the scene.”

The dozens of on-scene responders gathered together at the end of the exercise to go over what they’d taken from the exercise. While each agency highlighted some areas they hoped to target for improvement, Gibbs said he was pleased with their performance.

“We do a good job in this county,” Gibbs told the group. “I’m leaving thinking that if that happens and one of our kids is on that bus, they’re going to be taken care of. This just goes one step further to showing our parents and citizens that we have a plan, and we’re going to make it work, and we’re going to take care of our kids.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

 

A call went out to area emergency services Friday morning that no police officer, sheriff’s deputy, firefighter or paramedic wants to hear — a school bus full of children, the dispatcher said, had rolled over twice before crashing into a tree at Lewis Young Park.

And while all the participants in that mock bus accident training exercise hope they never have to deal with a real accident of this severity, they know now that they’ll be more prepared if one does happen.

This massive multi-agency undertaking sponsored by Miami County Emergency Medical Services has been in the works since August, Miami County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Gibbs said. About 10 agencies from Miami and Johnson counties participated in the exercise, as well as dozens of volunteers who acted as victims and parents.

After the initial call went out, the scene of the accident was a flurry of activity. Miami County EMS, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Miami County Medical Center, Louisburg Fire and Police departments, Johnson County Fire District No. 2, Johnson County ECC and LifeFlight Eagle were all there to help free patients, contain the scene, provide medical attention and transport patients to area hospitals.

Organizers made sure the event was as real as possible. Patients were covered in fake blood, obstacles were put in place to make sure the operation wouldn’t go too smoothly, and one unresponsive patient had to be flown to the hospital via LifeFlight from a ball field. A triage center was set up near the scene of the accident, and another bus was used as a giant ambulance.

Amid the buzzing radios, screaming “victims” and whirring helicopter blades, personnel had to find a way to ensure that they were working together — as quickly and efficiently as they could.

“We work together when we’re having a big incident, but we don’t always get to train together,” Gibbs said. “It’s time-consuming but it’s worth it. We’ve got great emergency responders in this county. It’s neat to see them work together in an incident that’s not really true.”

As medical and fire officials worked to free and treat patients, administration and faculty from USD 416 had the difficult task of identifying the names of students on the bus through wireless devices. They also faced an even bigger challenge — calming down hysterical parents looking for their children.

“The big key to this is learning how to get those children back to their parents, because parents are obviously going to be upset,” Gibbs said. “So it’s about building that trust that we have a plan to get them back together on the scene. We have a great plan at schools, to get them released, so we are able to test that plan with parents coming out to the scene.”

The dozens of on-scene responders gathered together at the end of the exercise to go over what they’d taken from the exercise. While each agency highlighted some areas they hoped to target for improvement, Gibbs said he was pleased with their performance.

“We do a good job in this county,” Gibbs told the group. “I’m leaving thinking that if that happens and one of our kids is on that bus, they’re going to be taken care of. This just goes one step further to showing our parents and citizens that we have a plan, and we’re going to make it work, and we’re going to take care of our kids.”

– See more at: http://www.herald-online.com/news/local_news/article_57215ed5-0946-549d-81c8-f77254a9a440.html#sthash.ePzWn2ZO.dpuf