SWEETWATER-It would have been hard to miss if you were driving by Sweetwater Hospital Association on Friday. A big white bus was parked in front of the SHA new professional building currently under construction.

The ambus (ambulance/bus) is the Region II EMS Directors Association Mass Casuality Unit that is dispatched to Monroe or other counties in Region II when extra medical transport is needed to due a

mass casuality situation.

The bus is stationed in Anderson County and uses staff from there. The bus was donated by the Morgan County School System.

David Williams, training director for the Monroe County EMS, said the bus can hold up to 24 patients—12 seated and 12 on stretchers—or triple the amount that all the Monroe County ambulances can transport at one time.

Williams said if a tornado or major emergency happened, Monroe County’s own ambulances could transport the most severely-injured patients while the bus handled the others.

“This is one of the best resources we have ever had,” Williams said.

Williams said it took a while to get the bus configured for its new duties, but now the bus is even air conditioned.

He said the bus is perfectly suited for evacuations, such as when a nursing home had to be evacuated during the 1996 train car spill in Sweetwater.

Also on hand Friday to show off the bus were Beverly Holley, nursing administration assistant for SHA, Darek Shetterly, Anderson County assistant EMS chief, David Johnson, district coordinator for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Mark Dison, a lieutenant with Anderson County EMS.