Story and photos by JEFFREY POWELL
The 2014-2015 school year is upon us. Throughout this election season much conversation has taken place about students and teachers in the classroom. These conversations are for the most part productive and meant to serve students well in their respective schools. One subject that could be overlooked during these conversations is how the students get to school. With this in mind the Walton County School District Transportation Department in conjunction with South Walton Fire District (SWFD) and Sacred Heart Hospital recently held a school bus accident simulation at South Walton High School. The drill was part of the annual bus driver training program and meant to refresh drivers as to what to do in case of an accident.
“The Walton County School Board reached out to us to help in this simulation,” said SWFD Fire Marshal Sammy Sanchez. “This is part of their yearly education and we are happy to participate. Of course we hope this kind of accident never happens but we want everyone to be prepared. This not only helps the bus drivers but it is a great training opportunity for us as well.”
Bus drivers from Walton, Holmes and Washington counties participated in the day-long training program. Prior to the outdoor simulation drivers were gathered inside the SWHS for classroom training. After the simulation a de-briefing was held to review what had been learned.
“We had drivers from three counties out here today for this simulation,” said Walton County School District Coordinator of Transportation Jim Hicks. “Staging this bus accident will help drivers understand what happens if an actual accident takes place. It takes a lot of different agencies to make something like this to happen and we are thankful for everyone that helped. The three most important things concerning this drill are one, the students, two the students and three the students.”