In recognition of School Bus Safety week, 28 drivers with Whitteker Bus Lines participated in a bus safety workshop last week which included bus evacuations, the use of fire extinguishers and knowing your mirrors.
“We try to do this every year with our drivers,” said Elaine Whitteker. “We get new drivers and we have longtime drivers who get in a routine. Both can benefit from these workshops.”
This year’s workshop included first-hand bus evacuations and video training on the use of mirrors. It also included instruction on the use of fire extinguishers provided by a South Dundas Fire Prevention Team which included firefighters Trevor Riopelle, Justin Vanhecke and Chris Paulino.
After discussion on fire extinguishers and their proper use, the drivers were provided the opportunity to extinguish a fire in a Fire Training Module which can be set up to replicate everything from a car fire to a trash can fire.
For the benefit of the Whitteker bus drivers last Wednesday, the module was set up to simulate a “fairly involved dash board fire”.
Riopelle explained the PASS acronym for the use of fire extinguishers…pull, aim, squeeze, sweep. He discussed how to pull the pin, to aim at the base of a fire, to squeeze the lever and to use a sweeping motion.
“Be ready for the mess and be ready for the kickback,” he warned. He also warned everyone, “to never turn your back on a fire.”
“It (the fire extinguisher) is something you have on your bus that you hope you don’t ever have to use,” said Whitteker. “Think how much worse it would be to have it on your bus and not know how to use it.”
It addition to the annual fall workshop, Whitteker Bus Lines runs several workshops throughout the driving season. Another, held a little later on, involves safe driving in winter conditions.
Riopelle stressed to the drivers that if there is an incident, “make the call. Let dispatch know what’s going on and to put Emergency Services on alert. You’ll never get in trouble for reporting a problem.”
Bus Safety Week 2012 runs from October 15-19.