Colbert EMA works to build a triage bus for major incidents

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a vehicle which has transported thousands of students over the last dozen years, and now it’s becoming a tool to save lives.

The flashing red lights and yellow coat of paint are unmistakable. A former Colbert County school bus is done running routes, and now it’s being converted into a triage vehicle for major incidents.

“Right now when you have a mass casualty situation you’re looking at putting plastic down according to our plan,” Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton explained.

Melton has been working with the Alabama Department of Public Health for a couple of years preparing for the buses delivery. Gone are the seats and in their place will go portable stretchers. It’s a place to get those needing immediate medical attention out of the elements. Once it’s complete in the next couple of weeks, it can travel anywhere it’s needed in northwest Alabama.

“It’s not if we have to use it, it’s when we have to use it,” stated Melton. “This thing could be utilized for a tornado touchdown or utilized for a number of different varieties of incidents that could happen.”

Coupled with a triage trailer which holds all of the medical supplies they would need for a mass injury situation, and Melton feels a little bit better prepared.

The Colbert County School Board donated the bus for the project. It was declared surplus late last week. Repurposing of the bus is being paid for through state grants.