County seeking bus for evacuation

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, October 15, 2008

After years of discussion, Pike County may be near finding a way to better handle emergency evacuations.

“If it’s approved, we’ll outfit a school bus to carry stretcher patients should we have to evacuate intensive care units at Troy hospital or the nursing homes,” said Director of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency Larry Davis.

In Monday’s Pike County School Board meeting, the board approved to transfer ownership of a surplus county bus to the EMA. Now, Davis said they are just waiting County Commission approval.

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Commission Chairman Robin Sullivan said the project is something they will likely approve soon.

“I think all we were waiting on is the school board to approve it,” Sullivan said.

Davis said the bus conversion kits, given by the state health department, will allow the county to carry 18 people on stretchers on one bus.

“The majority of the time, we don’t have but two ambulances in the county, so we’re only talking about moving four people at a time,” Davis said. “One of the questions that always comes up is, if you have to evacuate hospitals how would you? This gives us a sort of secure and better way to do it.”

Davis said he hopes to have two busses to use eventually, which will allow for 36 people to be evacuated at one time.

As part of the agreement, the county will have to pay insurance and any repairs the bus may need, and the school system will be responsible for storage and maintenance.

Davis said the busses could be used in any type of evacuation setting like a hurricane or tornado, or it could be used in the case of another bus wreck.

“Those who can walk and sit up good, I think we can evacuate those, but it’s the stretcher-bound patients that would be critical,” Davis said. “It’s just a way to make Pike County a little more independent should there be an emergency.”