MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — If motorists see a host of police, fire and emergency officials swarming about Montcalm Township on Monday morning, they need not worry.
Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is teaming up with the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) to stage a mock disaster training session for approximately 90 school bus drivers.
The exercise will take place from 10 a.m. to noon near Montcalm Township Hall on M-91 in Turk Lake.
“The goal is to provide the bus drivers with a real life scenario that they could be faced with during their career,” said EMS Field Supervisor Brandon Mulnix. “We are inviting Montcalm County area first responders, including EMS, fire and police to participate in this exercise.”
The majority of the action will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. The second hour will provide a debriefing and discussion session. EightCAP Inc. is providing a bus for the exercise.
“It’s a great opportunity for our department to work with the ISD and EightCAP on a disaster scenario,” Mulnix said. “Learning through working together allows us to be better prepared when the real event takes place. The opportunity for the rescue and firefighters to cut apart a bus in a practice environment is a unique opportunity. Bus extrication is not something the rescuers do very often and presents challenges that can be difficult during the stress of a real event.”
Rosalee Hull is the transportation supervisor for the MAISD.
“As soon as we get a school bus with thousands of miles, unsafe for transporting students and ready to retire, we begin to plan a mock accident exercise to provide training for school bus drivers, EMS, fire departments, sheriff’s department and all county officials,” Hull said. “We get our heads together and plan, so that all departments get some hands-on experience with a school bus incident.”
The school bus exercise will specifically target responding to an emergency involving special needs students.
“In this exercise, EMS will become more familiar with the needs they may encounter in the event of an accident that may have students strapped in wheelchairs, safety vests, seat belts, feeding tubes, oxygen or seizures,” Hull said. ”They will become familiar with the different exits on the bus and how they would extract a wheelchair student if the bus was laying on its side.”
Community members are welcome to attend Monday’s training exercise for observation purposes.