BY CURTIS CARDEN, Elizabethton Star
It is always best to be prepared.
With schools now back in session and students getting back into the routine of things, Elizabethton City Schools spent time last week readily preparing students for the ends and outs of bus evacuation drills as a way to readily prepare students in the case of emergencies.
At each school within the district, students were able to go through the different methods needed to stay safe in certain situations. According to the system, more than 20 percent of the ECS students ride the bus daily.
Training is important across the board for all students, according to ECS Assistant Transportation Supervisor Zach Ensor, whether they ride a bus to school each day or not.
“In the event of an emergency, we want kids to be familiar with emergency exits and how to safely get off the bus if they have to,” Ensor said. “We’re doing it with all kids because even if they don’t ride a bus every day, they’ll probably all be on a bus at some point in time for field trips or athletic events.
“Overall, the drills went very well,” he added. “From administration, to our drivers, to the students, everyone was able to complete it. At the end of the day, our focus is on the safety of the children.”
Having the drills each year continues to be a goal for the system moving forward, which follows in line with the safety protocols put in by the ECS Transportation Department.
All ECS buses have cameras and most have seatbelts, while school officials added the goal is to add more cameras. Each bus is equipped from around two to five cameras, Ensor explained.
A new addition this year is a sticker at the back of each bus that drivers on the road can use to contact the school system to report on the quality and safety of ECS drivers.
“It’s really all about building on what we already have in the bus,” Ensor said. “From additional cameras to having the drills, we want to continue taking the steps we can to ensure safety for staff, faculty and students.”
According to information provided by the system 10 ECS buses cover 245 miles on eight regular routes, three special education routes and two preschool routes on a daily basis.
All ECS drivers participate in annual training in CPR, First Aid, and epinephrine injection. In addition, the Tennessee Highway Patrol provides annual driver safety training.