Rescuers tackle daring drill - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rescuers tackle daring drill

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A bus collided with three cars on the Oglethorpe Bridge in Columbus Wednesday, pinning passengers inside.

The scene looked like something straight from one of our breaking news segments but it was an intense training exercise for the local Georgia Search and Rescue team.

"When we have situations involving school buses with kids it becomes very dramatic and requires a lot of advanced techniques to get these kids out and deal with the situation. One of hazards we have here is we're dealing with a bridge situation and the bus has pinned the cars. One is stuck between the bridge and the bus. They're having to mitigate those hazards in order to get those folks out," explained Lieutenant Brice Patterson with Columbus Fire and EMS. Patterson oversaw the drill at Columbus Towing off 4th Street in downtown Columbus.

The exercise centered around extrication- getting the trapped victims out of tight spots and to the hospital.

Firefighters pretended there were five people with severe injuries- the bus driver and two kids on the bus along with two other drivers.

Once they made sure the bus wouldn't topple over, the jaws of life came out.

The Search and Rescue Team is made up of select firefighters and emergency responders from Columbus and the surrounding Georgia counties as well as several members of several East Alabama fire departments. They specialize in natural and man-made disasters.

"You hate to see something like this happen but it is reality and we do have to train the guys to be prepared," said Captain Brent Morris with Columbus Fire and EMS.

"It's good to know that if our children are involved in an accident, hopefully that won't happen, but if they are we have crews like this that can go to work, know what they're doing and get them out safely," added Battalion Chief Les Talley with Columbus Fire and EMS.

The goal was to get the injured victims out of the fake crash site in one hour.

Firefighters managed to get all of them out in 50 minutes.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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