Republic firefighters learn how to reach trapped school bus passengers

It's a skill they hope they never have to use.

November 15, 2012|by Ashley Reynolds, KY3 News |

REPUBLIC, Mo. -- After two bus accidents in less than a week in the Ozarks, some training here by firefighters on Thursday was all that more timely.  What they learned at the school bus rescue class could help save young lives.

“We train all the time to cut up cars, trucks, and vans.  We don't get very many buses,” said Republic Fire Chief Duane Compton.  “Buses are tough.  They are tough to cut up and get open.  They are a lot tougher than what you would think.”

Firefighters from the Republic area are spending this week preparing for things that might happen but rarely do.

“You look at the number of trips they make in the buses and the number of students that they haul, the miles they put on these buses, they have very little, if any, accidents.  But there is always that one time when a driver is not paying attention, they are texting or talking on their phone, and they may plow into the side of a bus and the students might be trapped.  This is that one time they are training for,” said Compton.


Responders say school buses do not have seat belts because they are made to hold objects and people inside.  (Also, seat belts could be weapons for unruly students and slow down evacuation times after crashes.)  Cars and buses are built much differently and that's why firefighters say this training is so important.

“They are a lot safer than I ever gave them credit for,” said Republic firefighter Michael McCully.

For more than a decade, McCully has saved lives.  However, he has never taken a class like this.

“It's more comforting to know, if we do have a school bus wreck here in town, I can come in and know where to cut and gain access to the patients that could be inside,” he said.  “It kind of helps keep that stuff fresh in your mind.”

While the class was scheduled more than a month ago, when the Marshfield school bus wreck happened last week, more firefighters signed up.  The Republic School District donated the salvaged buses for the class.

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