Protocol for a local school bus crash - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Protocol for a local school bus crash

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VIENNA, Ill. -- Hours before the school day even starts, bus drivers are preparing for their daily routes. Most of the time, students make their way to and from school safely, but administrators must have a plan in case of an emergency. 

Vienna School District Superintendent, Joshua Stafford, says his district has 15 bus routes with around 60 students on each bus, "Our buses are running all day long including field trips and a variety of other activities that go on through a normal school day."

Stafford says if students were in a bus crash, school staff members and the bus driver will work with first responders, "Our first priority, of course, is to ensure life safety. Whatever measures and steps we can take to ensure life safety would be out first response."

Next, calling the parents of students directly involved. "We have to ensure everybody is in the loop and on the same page. There's nothing worse than being a mom or a dad in limbo about 'Is my child OK?'" he explains. 

Vital information would then be relayed to the community either via social media, e-mail, or a call system. The school district would also designate a reunification point for parents. 

"We don't necessarily need a crowd at the scene of that accident," Stafford says. "We're blocking roads, getting in the way of first responders, we're getting in the way of ambulances." 

Long-time employee Max Hook believes the only fatal bus crash for the district was in 1965, in which the driver died. "He was stopped for a pick up on the highway and a dump truck some how lost control and hit them head on," he recalls. 

Hook was on the high school's student council and had to retrieve student's personal items from the bus after it was brought back into town. 

"There were notebooks scattered. Shoes and tennis shoes that they (the students) brought to school for P.E. class," Hook says. "I was wondering how everybody was. I had not been around death much at that point, so it was quite a sobering event for me." 

Hook and Stafford just feel fortunate that an accident like that in 1965, hasn't happened again.

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