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Drills help students prepare for school bus emergencies

11:05 PM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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Crashes involving school buses are some of the toughest news stories to report and hear about. But in school districts across the state, students are learning what to do in case their bus is in an accident.

In 2012, there were 503 school bus related crashes in Tennessee, about 100 of them involved injuries. There have already been more than 100 crashes this year.

School bus drivers in Cumberland County showed kids emergency procedures Wednesday. It's a drill that's paid off in scary situations in the past.

"I know of four instances that we've had to use this because of accidents," said Cumberland County's Transportation Supervisor, Lane McAnalley.

For just 15 minutes after school three times a year, the bus riders learn about all of the exits and when to use them. Several older students per bus are chosen as emergency leaders. They learn how to work the radio and emergency brake, if something were to happen to the driver.

"Safety is the main thing. In any situation where we have to get off this bus, leave your stuff, just get off the bus," one South Cumberland Elementary School bus driver told his passengers.

It's a short amount of time, but McAnalley says it can and already has made a big impact.

"You never know what's going to happen. Children need to be prepared. We have fire drills at school, tornado drills at school, obviously something could happen on the bus too so they should be prepared for that," said South Elementary Becky Brown Assistant Principal

McAnally says the state Department of Education was impressed with Cumberland County's school bus drills and made it mandatory all over the state.

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