Practice makes perfect

Local News

CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — School is about to start up and school bus drivers are practicing their routes. Now, they and others are practicing what to do in an emergency.

The Illinois Central Bus Depot spent Thursday morning working with police and fire departments on a mock crash.

“This is a scenario we hope we never are in but in case this ever did happen in real life, there is no way to really try this scenario except to try it like this.”

That’s why 20-year veteran bus driver Randy Smyser says he climbed in the tipped bus with the kids; just one of dozens of drivers who took time to watch or be part of the mock crash. It was an idea the manager of Central Illinois Buses came up with. Fire and police departments helped make it a reality.

“I think it was really beneficial to everyone. I think every agency got a take away out of it.”

They staged a wreck between two school buses which resulted in one on its side with kids playing injured victims. They were teaching them what steps to take.

“Well, your first response is getting ahold of dispatch, letting them know where you’re at, how many kids you still have on your bus so they can contact the right people and get them headed toward you. Do we need the kids off immediately? In case of fire, in case of anything real serious.”

Then, making sure to check on each child, hoping they’re not hurt. But, in this pretend scenario, it wasn’t the case. The driver of this bus had to deal with things like unconscious kids and not knowing whether or not they were going to be okay. Fake injuries and broken glass aside, these bus drivers are leaving better prepared.

“Really, really showed a lot of different things that we need to know in case something like this happened and doing these mocks like this is the only way to be able to get this kind of education.”

School district officials also took part. They learned their plan of attack in case they needed to respond to a bus crash.

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