FAIRHAVEN, Mass. — A full-scale exercise simulating an accident involving a school bus was held here Oct. 20. The bus was donated for the event by New Britain, Conn.-based DATTCO Inc.
DATTCO also provided buses, including the company's new hybrid-electric school bus, for a safety demonstration following the event to familiarize emergency personnel with access points, location of power sources and other bus features.
Police, fire, EMS, ambulance, HAZMAT, public works and other emergency personnel from seven area towns were also involved. Residents in the immediate vicinity were notified in advance and invited to participate as bystanders. Students from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School acted as accident victims and triage was performed on site with transportation by ambulance to four area hospitals.
Funding to support the project was provided by the Southeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council and the National Interstate Insurance Co. Local organizations, including the Massachusetts Association for Pupil Transportation, also contributed.
Participants from all fields stated that they had never participated in a drill that was so realistic and that they learned a lot more than they ever have from classroom exercises.