LPS Students Prepare for Bus Emergencies

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Lincoln, Neb.-- Audrey Ingram gets to work when classes end for the day.

Ingram works as a transport para for the Lincoln Public Schools transportation system. She keeps an eye on students at Adams Elementary School during the bus ride home, so the driver can keep his or her eyes on the road.

But, if anything dangerous were to happen while taking children to or from school, she said it takes more than her and the driver to keep everyone safe.

"Knowledge is power," Ingram said.

"You're giving [students] the knowledge that can get them out of a bad situation, and they're really receptive. They like to take charge."

That's why students across Lincoln are learning safety tips for when they're on the bus this week. Drivers go over the locations of the first aid kid, fire extinguisher and emergency exits.

Students also learn how to call for help on the radio, which is particularly useful if the driver is somehow incapacitated.

"There's help right there," Ingram said.

"Click of a button. But, if you don't show [students], they know none of that."

Children also went over how to properly evacuate the bus from a side emergency exit.

And when seconds count, knowing how to evacuate is crucial.

"We just want students to understand that there are things that they can do to help protect themselves in the event of an unfortunate situation," Bill McCoy, the Director of Custodial Services and Transportation for LPS, said.

McCoy said LPS has been lucky in that they haven't had to deal with too many dangerous situations involving their buses. But, some parts of Nebraska haven't.

Four people tragically died in a school bus crash near Blue Hill more than two years ago, and another crash sent five students to the hospital near Waverly last September.

McCoy pointed out severe weather or a bus submerging under water are all possibilities they need to prep for.

Those misfortunes are constant reminders why children, all the way up to the driver, need to be on the same page.

"If you had a fire in your home," Ingram said, "you probably should have an escape plan. It's the exact same thing."

The safety training took place after school before the bus drove students home. The schools notified parents that their children would be home about 20 minutes late.