An article published in School Bus Fleet’s April/May 2017 edition explained 5 ways to prepare for serious and unexpected school bus accidents and incidents.
I want to touch on the last topic they covered, donating a school bus. An old, retired school bus is not able to safely transport children to school, but it is the perfect vessel for emergency training drills! In my years working for a privately owned school bus company we ran many, many types of field training events. I always loved being a part of those training exercises and assisting in the set up. The problem was that we were not able to “damage out” a bus every few months or even every few years.
I do remember one year, we were able to have a drill with local law enforcement and fire fighters. They took our drivers through multiple exercises with the buses we had retired. It was amazing and the amount of experience and knowledge we learned from this event was priceless. Priceless, but expensive. I say this not to demean the idea or stress how hard it can be to accomplish in a small district or family owned school bus company. I say this because even though the cost was immense the reward was worth so much more. We were able to see how the officials reacted to a bus on fire and on its side. We were able to attempt to evacuate such a bus. The action of just maneuvering oneself inside a tipped bus really showed the reality of the difficulties involved in such an event. This difficulty is exacerbated if the bus is on fire or after a dramatic crash has occurred.
I wish that every district could experience such training and benefit from these personal experiences. If possible, having multiple districts work together and providing more of this type of training at regional conferences would be amazing! I love this idea and I can say from experience that it is one of the most rewarding types of field training I have witnessed.
Training is the key to a successful experience. It doesn’t matter what field, job, or sport you do. If your training is lacking then your reaction time and process in an actual event will be dismal and may not be what is best for your driver or the children involved. –Haleigh