Imagine your child's school bus suddenly fills with smoke. Will the bus driver know what to do? Tyler Independent School District wanted to make sure their drivers could handle a situation like that, so they had a training day enacting this scenario and other emergencies.
Five days a year TISD bus drivers prepare for the worst, and one day a year they experience it. John Bagert, Director of Transportation for TISD, hopes they never have to use the training.
"We train all the time, and what this does is take that training into an actual application stage, so when this occurs in real life; there's an event, then it becomes second nature at that point," Bagert said.
Drivers were put through the paces, squeezing through narrow passages and backing into tricky spaces. Bus monitors like Lydia Martin got some training with a fire extinguisher and got familiar with a smoky bus.
"We got a chance to look at some films and get knowledgeable on fire, and got a chance to actually put out some fire, even though, even though my extinguisher ran out, but I still got a chance to put it out," Martin revealed.
The Tyler Fire Department used their training facilities to give the transportation department real experiences, like using their smoke machine on a school bus.
"It smelled like real plastic burning so it gave us a real sensation as to what is going on, so when we're on the bus with the kids we know what to smell and what to do and get them evacuated first. Actually I didn't know we were supposed to go left to right, and now I do know. Get the kids off left to right and that way I can get them off a lot safer," Martin said.
Employees also learned the proper way to cut a seat belt off, just in case.
"I feel like I will be more prepared to handle an emergency situation more so than I would have," Martin concluded.
No one can foresee all circumstances that may arise, but TISD has covered the basics to keep your children safe on the bus.