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Drill today involves rollover of large school bus
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Manteca Fire Captain David Marques explains the training plan that awaits volunteers and emergency responders both today and Thursday afternoons at a staged school bus rollover at the district bus facility on the corner of Louise Avenue and Airport Way. - photo by GLENN KAHL

A crash training like no other that has been held in Manteca, the staged rollover of a large school bus into a flood retention basin will take place today and Thursday afternoons near the corner of Airport Way and Louise Avenue.

The City of Manteca Fire Department’s training division is offering the 2011 Mass Casualty Incident Training Simulation to staffers of the school district as well as to the EMTs and paramedics of the Manteca District Ambulance Service.

Half a dozen “injured bus riders” are to be rescued in the hour-long scenario that is scheduled to last from 5 until 6 p.m.  School district bus operator instructor Melinda Trimboli said the riders will be sitting out the hot bus mostly as volunteers.  Some will be using the event to fill their required training hours.

One “victim” will have a broken leg and be a challenge in the removal from the bus that is tilted on a 45-degree angle.

Fire Captain David Marques lauded Dennis King of Manteca Towing Service for offering to set up the crash site and for putting the bus into the crash configuration.  Marques and firefighter Franco Torrice put the volunteer “injured” victims through a brief orientation Tuesday morning at the retention basin at the corner of the bus garages and storage lots at the school district office campus.

The “victims” were all given the opportunity to crawl through the emergency exit at the rear of the bus and try to get used to the tipped condition of the vehicle’s interior.  With the help of firefighters they made their way back to the same emergency exit across the upper back panel of the bus.

Four fire units and two ambulances are being used in the training.

“For an incident of this size you would likely have three engines, one truck and a battalion chief respond,” Captain Marques said.  “The truck deals with extrication and the engines deal with patient care.  The battalion chief is in charge.”

The scenario of the crash includes five to 10 passengers that are still inside.  Two passengers are trapped and unable to get out.  The bus is filling with smoke from an engine compartment fire.

A triage of injured patients will insure the most severely injured are cared for first, Marques said.  As they are removed from the school bus, the patients are coded with red, yellow and green tags based on their injuries.

A red tag denotes the most serious requiring immediate attention.  The yellow tag signifies a delayed injury and green a minor injury.  A black tag relates to a deceased victim, however the deceased are usually left in place in the vehicle until after the incident is completed.

“For an accident of this type, it would likely require four to five ambulances,” Marques said.  

One ambulance can transport one immediate care patient or two to three delayed patients or as many as four minor patients depending on the type of injuries.  An air ambulance would be used for children or for remote locations, the fire captain explained.