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School bus safety demonstration held by Meridian Fire, Police Departments

"Be careful and watch for the students cause it happens all the time, kids get hit because people don't pay attention."

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Meridian Fire and Police Departments held a joint demonstration regarding school bus safety on Tuesday.

The departments partnered with Cascade Student Transportation for their annual training day Tuesday morning to show the drivers how rescue operations would be carried out in the event of an emergency.

"With the partnership, they've allowed us to train on some of their busses," Meridian Fire Department (MFD) Division Chief of Training, Jordan Reese said. "With the high-risk low-frequency events, we don't get to train on a whole lot, but it's certainly something we need to be prepared for, so we're very thankful for the opportunity."

At the event, Chief Reese discussed how MFD is specifically preparing for the upcoming fall semester and training to keep kids safe.

"They train every day for this type of thing even though we don't have busses all the time, they're ready to respond to any number of events." Chief Reese said. "While we never want these types of things to happen, we know that the possibility is there. So for us to get real-world experience on these types of vehicles is huge for us.

Crews used cutters, which are essentially very powerful giant scissors, to cut through the metal of the bus exterior and make a quick and efficient exit for occupants.

Roland Bak has been a bus driver for the last 15 years and also helps train drivers with Cascade Student Transportation. Bak said he was impressed while watching the training.

"They really did a fantastic job with how quick they were getting deployed and getting people in and out," Bak said.

The Meridian Police Department (MPD) was also at the training to answer questions and remind the public about traffic laws, lights, and school zones. Something that Bak said is greatly needed.

"The general public, they need to be more aware," Bak said. "Please, please be careful and obey the laws. When you see the lights on and the stop sign out, come to a stop. Be careful and watch for the students cause it happens all the time, kids get hit because people don't pay attention."

In the unlikely case an emergency situation does happen, Chief Reese said it is important for the public to stay calm and follow instructions from law enforcement.

"If something like this is to happen, bus accidents can become very chaotic environments," Chief Reese said. "Especially as parents, we know that it's your precious cargo but we have a job to do, and the more you can give us space to do our job, the better outcome it's going to be."

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