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Not as bad as it looks

Although collisions involving school buses are rare in Lawrence County, bus drivers witnessed what they could expect if it ever happened.

Bus drivers from across the county were exposed to a mock disaster at Chesapeake High School Thursday afternoon during their annual bus driver in-service days.

The disaster consisted of a school bus and four cars displayed on the parking lot of the school.

Bus drivers participated in the drill by getting into the vehicles and waiting for the paramedics, firefighters and State Highway Patrol officers to rescue them.

The

911 call was made at 11:00 a.m., and within minutes the vehicles began to arrive.

Local fire departments from Burlington, Chesapeake and Proctorville along with paramedics from SEOEMS Station 13 out of Chesapeake, the Highway Patrol and the 911 helicopter all responded to the call.

"It prepares all local fire departments to work together," said Ed Webb, assistant chief of the Chesapeake Fire Department.

"This has given us a well-rehearsed exercise and has checked our readiness on whether it be a disaster or just a car wreck."

George York, supervisor at the Lawrence County Educational Center, gave two reasons for the drill.

"Not many of these drivers have been involved in a wreck," York said.

"This also checks if procedures are in place if something should happen."

York and Jack Finch, supervisor of Chesapeake Transportation and Safety, collaborated on the demonstration for the bus drivers.

"When you do demonstrations, even if they are mock, it gives a better realization of what you should do than just watching a video of it," Finch said.

The paramedics and firefighters evacuated the bus and carried passengers from the cars out on stretchers once at the scene.

Some of the bus drivers acted as though it were a real disaster and moaned as if they were hurt when the firefighters and paramedics were checking on them.

One participant acted as an upset mother who had to be escorted away from the scene.

Brent Turvey a SEOEMS paramedic said the drill went quite well.

"It went a lot smoother than usual," Turvey said.

"These drills never go as well-planned as they are supposed to"

Because school will be in session soon, the drill was also to provide awareness for bus safety.

"The drill is to remind everyone that school is starting soon and to look for buses and kids at bus stops," Sgt. John Smith of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The patrolmen also talked with the bus drivers about what they may need to know in this type of situation.

The demonstration lasted approximately a half an hour when the last person was taken away on a stretcher.

All cars involved were donated by Paul Carpenter, an employee of Chesapeake High School.

"Anything for the safety of the kids," Carpenter said.

Next Tuesday, a drill will simulate a plane crash.