Training preps school bus drivers for worst to keep children safe

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News 12 This Morning/Monday Oct. 21, 2013

AIKEN Co., S.C. (WRDW)--"You never know when something's going to happen, you can't plan for it," said Detective Jeremy Hembree with Aiken Public Safety.

But you can try to prepare.

That's the idea behind bringing all Aiken County bus drivers together for a day of bus safety training on worst case scenarios.

"We want the bus drivers to know what they need to do to assist us but then also to keep the students safe and themselves safe," Hembree said.

For the first time, every Aiken County school bus driver came together to participate in this special in-service day.

The more than 300 drivers split into seven separate groups and were trained on different possible situations including a bus involved accident, a hostage situation and a bus on fire.

"It's always number one to think of the child's safety--and yours," said James Reynolds.

Reynolds has been an Aiken County bus driver for five years now.

He says he's had safety training over the years, but that this day of training--was different.

"Definitely, I feel more prepared because they brought out some things that provoked my thoughts," he said.

Several branches of law enforcement participated in preparing drivers for the unexpected.

"The biggest thing is we want them to know that at any given moment when they're on a school bus, the worst can take place," Hembree explained. "And we want them to be prepared for the worst."

Extra preparation that Reynolds says he's thankful for.

"If a situation arises, then some of these things that they've done today will lock in and we'll have a better asset to how to protect the children," said Reynolds.

This in-service training day took place Friday and was the first of its kind. District officials tell me for they future, they plan to try to hold this training day at least once a year.