HISD bus drivers schooled on how to handle emergencies

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 6:40 PM

HOUSTON — There was a dramatic scene in southeast Houston Tuesday with an overturned school bus, heavy smoke and bloody victims. Fortunately, it was just a drill.

Instructors from the Houston Independent School District were training bus drivers on how to respond to emergencies.

The mandatory sessions include hands-on demonstrations with live actors.

One scenario showed drivers how to pull kids from an overturned bus and how to evacuate in the event of heavy smoke.

"If our students are our most important commodity we have to keep them safe," said Chester Claude, a senior operations manager with HISD. "That starts by educating the bus drivers. Hopefully they’ll take this and it will be spread."

Drivers were also shown how to use the school district’s new silent panic alarms, which automatically dispatches police to an emergency scene.

Some drivers applauded the training, which the bus driver’s union had demanded for years.

"I think it was excellent," said Lizzie Revels, who’s been driving a bus for 24 years.

Houston Educational Support Personnel Union President Wretha Thomas said HISD was responding to the union’s calls for increased safety on buses.

"I feel real positive the transportation department is trying to do what we asked them to do," she said.

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