Hundreds Of School Bus Drivers Practice Safety Exercises In Oceana County

There was intense training for 400 school bus drivers on Friday.

They want to be ready for almost anything this upcoming school year.

It was all part of the bus driver professional development day put on by West Shore ESD at Shelby High School in Oceana County.

Drivers from more than 40 districts attended.

“We deal with other people’s children, that’s all we deal with, so preparation is the key,” says Mac Dashney, executive director of Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation.

Bus drivers spent time in the classroom and got hands-on safety training.

“We’re going to be looking at how to deal with disasters. One of the things we don’t think about that often is when we start school, buses will stop in the state of Michigan 350,000 times a day. That’s a lot of impact on motorist that they are not used to. That’s a thing that we are training here so our school bus drivers are more alert,” says Dashney.

Drivers learned what to do if a bus flips over.

“If it ever happens to them, then they have an idea how to use the emergency exits,” says Dashney.

Drivers also learned special needs transportation and more.

But one of the most important exercises is a program they call ALICE. It stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. It’s all in the case of an intruder on a school bus.

Drivers learned how to stop those intruders. For them, it was eye-opening.

“Our first shooter came on the bus on there for 20 seconds and had 15 victims so it happens very quickly. You have to react right away and in the proper manner,” says Tyrone Collins, bus driver in Mason County.

Drivers say training is extremely beneficial.

“Safety of the kids is priority one so whatever we can do to make that better that’s what we’re going to do,” says Collins.

West Shore ESD plans to have the training exercises every year.