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11-22-13: Students practice emergency exit drills
11-22-13: Students practice emergency exit drills
Posted on 11/22/2013

Knowing how to evacuate a school bus safely in an emergency is a lesson presented to students three times a year as part of the state-required school district emergency exit drills.


Last month, students spent about 10 extra minutes on the bus before school to hear their bus driver explain emergency procedures. Students then practiced how to exit through the rear or side emergency door.


“This empowers the drivers and students with the skills needed to evacuate in the event of an actual emergency and keeps the attention and the focus on student safety,” said Director of Transportation Cathy McDaniel. “All of our drivers are trained to teach these skills.”Image


Emergency bus evacuation drills are held in fall, winter, and spring. Students practice exiting the bus in fall, hear a verbal review in winter, and practice again in spring.


The drills held in fall coincide with National School Bus Safety Week, which was observed October 21-25. This year’s theme, “Stand Back From the Yellow and Black,” focused on being safe around the bus.


The annual drills also teach students a variety of other safety measures, such as how to respond if a driver becomes incapacitated, how to set the emergency brake, how to radio the Transportation department for help, and how to access equipment such as the first-aid kit.


“The repetition of hearing it several times a year every year until they graduate is important so they know what to do if an emergency actually occurs,” said bus driver Sabrina Koestler, who has been transporting students the past 23 years.


During one of her drills last month, Koestler reviewed safety information with about 40 Pope Elementary students.


Tammy Sutton, the school district’s bus driver trainer, added, “Just like schools do earthquake and fire drills, it is critical our bus drivers and students participate in regular bus safety drills.”


Students may be excused or excluded from the evacuation drills if their participation poses substantial difficulty to themselves or to other passengers. They continue to receive verbal instruction in school bus safety and exit drills.