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Bus crash is scenario for drill in Sultan on Tuesday

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
SULTAN -- A staged school bus crash is planned in Sultan on Tuesday morning.
Folks in town will see a school bus on its side near the intersection of First Street and Alder Avenue. Lots of emergency vehicles and crews will converge on scene from about 10 a.m. to noon.
The drill, hosted by Snohomish County Fire District 5 and the Sultan School District, is designed to train firefighters and school officials on what to do in the event of a large-scale accident involving children, Sultan Fire Chief Merlin Halverson said.
Some of the activity will be visible to drivers along U.S. 2., he said. Signs will be posted along the highway to remind drivers that what they're seeing is only a drill.
Sultan High School drama students will play the kids on the bus, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. Some of them will use cosmetics to make themselves appear seriously injured.
Firefighters will focus on assessing the injuries and getting aid to those who need it most, Halverson said. School officials will work with staff from Valley General Hospital in tracking injured students.
"The goal for the schools is to be able to identify all the children who were on the bus and where they were transported to," he said.
Some students will be taken to Valley General to assess the hospital's resources for a large influx of emergency patients, Ireton said.
People from the Washington State Patrol and the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction are expected to attend and observe, Halverson said.
"We all have an interest in taking care of the children in this state," he said.
The drill may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather, or if there's a major incident in the fire district.
"We're hoping that it all works out," Halverson said.
Fire crews from Monroe, Snohomish, Clearview, Gold Bar and Index also plan to participate.
The bus that will be used in the drill is a retired vehicle from the Sultan School District, Halverson said. Another retired bus also was used for a recent drill where firefighters practiced cutting into cars to free people trapped inside.
A letter was sent to school district families earlier this week notifying them about the scheduled drill. The letter also was posted to the district's website.
Students and staff who aren't participating in the drill will have normal schedules, superintendent Dan Chaplik wrote.
Live video streaming of the drill is planned at Anyone with questions for the school district can call 360-793-9801.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

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