Tyler ISD bus drivers better prepare for emergencies

Tyler ISD bus drivers better prepare for emergencies

TYLER (KYTX) - Your child's bus drivers are gaining more knowledge about how to keep students as safe as possible.

There is real fire and real smoke as a group of Tyler ISD bus drivers watch closely. 

It's not a real emergency, but bus driver Jo Blankenship and her colleagues are pretending it is, and learning what to do if that fire was on their school bus. 

"I didn't know that much about fire extinguishers. It just really gives you a sense of how to respond in an emergency situation," Blankenship says.

Bus driver training days are usually spent in classrooms, but Monday, the lessons were outside and hands-on.

We got to follow Blankenship through the whole training program as she learned from and worked alongside Tyler firefighters, like she would during a real emergency.

If a bus accident was bad enough where firefighters had to come help pry children out of the bus, drivers want to know what equipment fire crews are using and become familiar with it. 

That familiarity isn't just important for equipment used on land. That's why ETMC brought in a medical helicopter for the drivers to study.

Then Blankenship's greatest skills were put to the test in the school bus rodeo obstacle course.

"In this course we had the diminishing alley, the right hand turn without hitting the cones, backing into a space and having your bus enter left, right front and center, and then pulling into a bus stop with the safety limits of 10 feet," Blankenship explains.

"The course is really hard!" she says. 

It may be hard, but to Blankenship and her team of drivers, these life saving skills are worth perfecting.

TISD Transportation Director John Baggert says Monday was so successful, he plans on holding at least two of these sessions a year. Future drills may also include Tyler Police and hospitals to train with drivers as well. 


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