Middle school students get big lesson on bus safety
By Evelyn Long -
Escaping from the rear emergency door on the smoke filled school bus was a scary thing for Mount Gilead Middle School student Lane Smith. “I couldn’t see a thing. I was scared.”
It was Bus Safety Week and one of the events organized by the staff was the filling of a bus with (harmless) smoke by the Mount Gilead Fire Department. Forty Middle School students who had brought letters of permission from their parents, were seated in the bus. The rest of the Middle School student body watched as smoke filled the bus. When it was filled, the emergency rear door was opened the students escaped in an orderly and rapid fashion.
Alexander Artrip said “I started coughing.” Jaclyn Shipman said “It was like a big white blanket and I couldn’t even see my hand.” “I couldn’t breathe,” said Ailene McLaughlin. Morgan Murphy said “I knew I’d be okay– but it was hard for me to breathe — I was sitting in back.” Jordan Sagar said “I was sitting in back, I couldn’t see but it tasted like candy,” and Zachary Sellars said he was sitting up front.
“It was hard to see but I had to believe I’d be okay — so it didn’t scare me.”
Ransom Linnaberry and Kayla Lavender concurred with their classmates.
Brenda Legros, bus transportation supervisor, said there are 17 buses in the Mount Gilead fleet and 15 make runs every day carrying 700 students. One of those buses transport students to the Columbus School for the Blind and Deaf, another transports handicapped students on a contract with Galion and Cardington. A third bus transports students to Tri-Rivers Career Center.
Stephanie Clark, a bus driver, said 25 million kids ride buses daily in the U.S. and they travel one million miles in a day. She also said that six buses catch fire each day in the U. S.
Bus fires can be caused by at least four things; (1) power steering and transmission fluids have a flash point similar to gasoline so while engine oil and diesel fuel are less prone to ignite, these fluids dripping on the exhaust system or near the electrical spare can ignite quickly. (2) failure to refill the oil in the hub after a brake job; (3) Dual wheels can create friction and enough heat to start a fire and (4) electrical increasing due to complicated circuit breaker on today’s buses.
The best defenses were outlined as were the proper responses to school bus fires. One of the three latter is Education: training of drivers, passengers and public. Brad Sharp was the driver who sat in the bus that was filled with smoke.
Other activities related to Bus Safety week include a poster contest for the Middle School and grade school students and an essay contest for the high school students. Grade school winners will be given a pizza party.
Poster contest winners will rewarded with (1st place) four tickets to Fort Rapids Water Park in Columbus; (2nd place) will receive $50 cash; (3rd place) will receive four tickets to Splatter Park, Mount Gilead.