HOUGHTON - The scene at the Michigan Tech Trails, with bruised and bloodied children being carried out of an overturned school bus, was something local emergency personnel had never seen, in reality or simulation.
And that was the whole point.
Nearly 40 local firefighters and first responders participated Sunday in a mock disaster drill.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Hubbell and Tamarack City firefighters work to cut open the roof of a school bus during a disaster drill Sunday. About 40 local firefighters and first responders took part in the drill.
It is part of the fifth annual Western U.P. Trauma and Critical Care Conference, which is put on by the University of Michigan Survival Flight Team.
"This is the first time we've had an event like this in the Copper Country," said Brad Uren, a doctor with the Survival Flight Team.
Jon Stone, emergency response specialist with Michigan Technological University Department of Public Safety and Police Services, said Tech tries to host a training event on campus each year. Past crises have included a bomb incident at graduation and a fire at the Hillside Restaurant.
"It was a very good showing, considering it's a Sunday afternoon on a beautiful fall day," he said.
First, responders took out the front windshield of the bus, which was turned on its side. Responders then ferried out the children, 14 local volunteers, on baseboards. On the grass outside, emergency personnel treated the children in separate areas, depending on the severity of their wounds.
Abbi Stone, 9, still had smears of fake blood and a splattered shirt as she watched the rest of the proceedings. It was the second accident demonstration she had done, and the first with make-up.
"It was kind of fun, but then kind of ... I don't know how to put it," she said, looking for help to some fellow re-enactors, who did not provide it.
The simulation concluded with firefighters cutting into the top of the bus. For better or worse, it was a tricky proposition, requiring cutting through two layers.
It was good training to have, Tommy Crouch of the Hubbell Fire Department said afterward.
"Every incident's never the same as the last," he said. "And there's things you learn to prepare for, too. ... Too much training isn't enough training."