About 80 Whitley County school buses travel nearly 5,000 miles daily during the school year hauling more than 3,000 students over about 65 school bus routes in addition to school trips and extra curricular activities.
This isn’t including travel by school buses from other districts, such as Williamsburg, Corbin and Jellico.
Given all these buses on the roads, one might think that local fire departments and rescue squads would spend a good amount of time training for how to extricate students from a trapped school bus in the event of a worst-case scenario, but that isn’t really the case.
“Fortunately we don’t have many bus accidents and when we do they are minor,” Goldbug Fire Rescue Chief Brandon Woods said in April. “It’s not something we train on very often. Worst-case scenario – if it ever happened – it is something we need to have trained for. It could happen at any time. We need to at least be familiar with it that way if we do need to extricate out of a bus, we know how to do it.”
Fortunately, that time for training for a school bus rescue is almost upon us.
Goldbug Fire Rescue has a heavy rescue-school bus extrication class planned for Saturday on the Whitley County school district’s central campus in the parking lot of the middle school. The training will take place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
According to the Goldbug’s Facebook page, visiting firefighters are welcome to attend.
The fire department will be practicing its extrication skills on a surplus 1992 school bus that the Whitley County Board of Education voted to donate to the fire department for training purposes during its April 13 regular meeting.
Whitley County Superintendent Scott Paul said that the bus has been stripped down, and it is basically just shell.
“Before you turn a bus into a pop can, why not get some training out of it,” Paul noted during the April meeting.