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franklin county times

County board gives bus to RFD

What do you do with a 12-ton school bus that has outlived its working usefulness?

That was the very problem that faced the Franklin County Board of Education recently, as they had possession of such a vehicle.

The Board decided to scrap the vehicle since it no longer functioned properly. However, it just so happened that the old bus would take people to school one last time.

Jodie Hitt, a full-time Russellville Fire Department firefighter and part-time M & N Wrecker and Service Center employee, knew of one last use that the county could get out of the bus.

He suggested that the Board of Education donate the vehicle to the Russellville Fire Department. The department does training exercises on vehicle extrication, so why not practice on a school bus?

The Board agreed to Hitt’s plan, and RFD found itself with an old, dilapidated school bus to practice on.

Now they just needed somewhere to put the aging metal behemoth. Hitt’s connection to M & N paid off for RFD, and the wrecker service donated space in a back lot behind the main building to house the bus so the department could do training exercises with it.

“The school board was going to destroy the bus,” M & N Wrecker employee Jeff Murray said. “[Hitt] said he wanted to train on a bus, so they got it from the Franklin County Board of Education. [The Board] gave it to them so long as everyone knew they had donated it for training purposes.”

On Tuesday the wrecker service had possession of an old school bus.

“M & N supplied us with a place to do this,” said Captain Aubry Harris of the Russellville Fire Department. “The Franklin County Board of Education donated the bus. M & N donated a spot in their lot to put the bus and the equipment to turn the bus over.”

Once the school bus was in place, the training could begin. Heritage Fire Equipment taught the class and provided the training equipment.

“We went through a two-hour class on vehicle extrication,” Harris said. “We train on this equipment (a metal spreader/separater and a cutter) two or three times a year. We are lucky to have a bus to train on. We’ve never had a bus before. We would like to thank M & N for letting us train here and providing the equipment to flip the bus.”

The bus was turned over to simulate a rollover, similar to an incident in Huntsville a few years ago.

“Most of the time if you have an average bus wreck, you can just open the door,” Harris said. “If the bus rolls over, like in a ditch, you need the training on how to open the roof and get the people out. We train so we can do this efficiently, and everyone in Russellville trains together so it doesn’t matter who responds to a call like this. We train as a group so we can work together.”