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National School Bus Safety Week - October 22-26
"My Driver - My Safety Hero!"
Posted on 10/19/2018
National School Bus Safety Week is    October 22-26

The average person drives more than 13,000 miles per year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Last school year, Puyallup bus drivers drove nearly 1.5 million miles transporting students to and from school.

National School Bus Safety Week is October 22-26. It is designed to promote school bus safety and this year’s theme is “My Driver – My Safety Hero!” We would like to recognize our Transportation Department, including our 139 bus drivers. If you have the opportunity this week, please thank a bus driver!

“We have a great community of bus drivers that make a challenging job appear easy. They are very mindful of student safety on and off the bus. We appreciate our drivers and those who come along side to assist where needed.”
Director of Transportation Cathy McDaniel

Keeping students safe is the number one priority of bus drivers — every day. In addition to transporting students to school safely, drivers also have a role in training them on bus safety procedures.

Fruitland bus drillBus driver Sherry Morgan

Did you know students who are transported to school on buses receive a bus safety training drill three times per school year?
In compliance with Washington Administrative Code WAC392-145-080, Emergency Exit Drills and Procedures, an emergency evacuation drill shall be held within the first six weeks of school each semester. School districts are required by law to prepare written policies or rules which establish procedures for school bus safety and emergency exit drills.

This year the drills took place on October 9. In the morning when the buses arrived at school, each driver performed the drill before the students exited the bus. They completed a form with a specific checklist of items to discuss with students, ensuring all students receive the same information. Item number 1 on the list advised students to remain calm and in their seat.

Students learned first-hand how to turn off the bus and remove the key if the driver becomes incapacitated, how to evacuate, and where the emergency equipment is located. They had the opportunity to ask questions.

Bus safety drill
At Fruitland Elementary, bus drivers Sherry Morgan and Paula Busching set a shining example of the drill that morning. They got right to work when their buses arrived at school. As the students listened intently, Morgan showed the students the emergency exits and explained how to open them and get out during an emergency — including the hatch for roof access. She made sure students knew where they would turn the bus motor off and how to set the emergency brake.

She also made it clear that students should not exit the bus, except where there is danger of water, fire, a strong smell of gasoline, or a train. “If you are okay during an emergency, be sure to look around next to you and help your friends,” says Morgan.

Washington state school bus drivers must successfully complete a two-week training program. Standards and qualifications for operating school buses for the transportation of public school children is set by Washington Administrative Code WAC392-144, School Bus Driver Qualifications. Drivers are also required to complete an in-service training every year.

Our Transportation Department also works closely with the Washington State Patrol on the school bus inspection program to ensure safe school buses.
Bus driver Paula Busching