HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Department of Health has teamed up with the Department of Education, county emergency centers and school districts to start a program called AmbuBus.
The program comes as an improvement of how emergencies have been handled in the past. During disasters and emergencies ambulance services have their hands full. This program calls for school buses to be put into action.
"We looked at a number of ways that we could fill the gap of the shortage of having enough transportation and the AmbuBus project where we can convert buses into additional ambulance type seating and or cots seems to be a good fit for us," said Jim Craig, with the state Health Department.
Craig said six school districts including Hattiesburg have an AmbuBus kit and more kits will be spread out across the state.
"We want to make sure that we have these units available around the state for use by counties and instate resources as well," said Craig.
Hattiesburg public schools transportation director Audrae Barnes said his staff is prepared to convert a bus.
"If you were doing it with an ambulance, you'd have to have a paramedic, per ambulance when you could do the same thing with a school bus, and have all the resources pooled together in one centralized place," said Barnes.
The school district is equipped to carry four patients right now, but the buses can carry up to twelve. That process would require all of the seats on the bus to be removed, except the front two. Those seats are reserved for medical personnel.
Barnes said it would take about an hour and a half to get the bus ready.
"To know that you are helping somebody that's in need or helping those that are in distress is just a wonderful feeling."