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Northeast Missouri firefighters train for school bus accidents

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Hannibal Firefighters took part in a live training session Saturday, one instructors said can prepare them to deal with the calls involving children and school buses.

"I've never done any kind of training like this, and honestly I think quite a few people in our department haven't had a chance to get hands on with these tools or a bus like this," said HFD firefighter Cory Vaughn.

Vaughn spent today learning how to cut open a school bus to save kids who could be trapped inside after an accident.

Department officials said the community made the training possible.

"The school system here in Hannibal donated the buses which is awesome, Heartland Autobody let us use their lot which helps us out tremendously as it gives us a place to do it, and then instructors came in from University of Missouri," Vaughn said.

While instructors said it would be rare for first responders to have to face a tragedy like a overturned school bus, if they do, their training could help save lives.

"When the call comes out they have to paint a mental picture in their mind and realize what they're up against and realize this is a mass casualty incident and it's gonna take a lot of equipment and a lot of resources to get it mitigated and get it taken care of," University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute instructor Ron Walters said.

Walters said when a bus is on it's side, time is ticking, and knowing what to do is critical.

"This is not like your normal vehicle, it's built much tougher and much heavier so this is the safest mode of roadway transportation there is for human beings," said Walters.

Vaughn said their training will help keep it that way.

"It involves the whole community because it's the kids and we want to make sure our kids are safe for future generations to come," said Vaughn.

Other Missouri emergency response teams also attended the event, including firefighters from Palmyra as well as Marion County EMS personnel.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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