Firefighters and paramedics from three area departments in Illinois are shown how to manually operate a school bus wheelchair lift during emergency training at Durham School Services' Beach Park facility.
School bus contractor Durham School Services recently partnered with Illinois first responders from Newport Township, Beach Park and Zion in a safety training drill for the evacuation of school buses.
Officials said the first responders reached out to Durham to learn more about bus safety following a school bus accident in the area. More than 30 local firefighters and paramedics participated in Durham’s training program on bus evacuations in April to better enable them to assist in an emergency on a school bus.
The first responders explored five styles of school buses and could see how each emergency exit worked, including the different door options and roof hatches. They also learned how the wheelchair lifts operate manually in the event of a power loss.
Officials said the experience proved valuable for the first responders, especially those who had never been on a school bus.
“Following the tragic accident involving our school bus near Wadsworth, my team was proud to show the level of training required for each of them to be certified to drive a school bus,” said Rita Maki, general manager of Durham’s Beach Park, Ill., bus facility. “They take their jobs very seriously and appreciate the chance to train others on their equipment in the event it helps a student one day.”
Newport Township Fire Lt. Jeff Fanning, head of the first responders, commended the bus company for the training it provides its employees and thanked the Durham team in Beach Park for sharing its knowledge and experience.
“Everyone here realizes there is a lot more to your jobs than just driving a bus,” he told the bus drivers. “Although we hope we will never need to utilize these skills, the first responders who participated are certainly better equipped to assist in an emergency involving a school bus.”
In other news, National Express Corp., the parent company of Durham School Services, was recently awarded an ANSI/AIHA Z10‐2012 Safety Management System certificate for the provision of student transportation services within North America.
Officials said National Express Corp. is the first provider of student transportation to receive this certification.
David Duke, CEO of National Express Corp., said he is “very proud that National Express Corp. blazed the trail for student transportation providers in the field of safety certification.”
ANSI/AIHA Z10‐2012 process‐based certification recognizes organizations that can link business objectives with operating effectiveness. Companies that achieve management system certification to ANSI/AIHA Z10‐2012 have demonstrated effective implementation of documentation and records management, top management commitment to their employees, establishment of clear policy and practice, good planning and implementation, good resource management, efficient health and safety controls, measurement and preventive action.
Duke also stated he was pleased that the certification “evidences the company’s commitment to safety and demonstrates the value we place in being a leader in safe student transportation.”
SRI Quality System Registrar, the company that certified National Express Corp., is an internationally accredited registrar for management system standards, such as ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 13485, ISO 27001, and environmental management systems standards such as ISO 14001 and RC14001.
“We are pleased to acknowledge that National Express Corporation has demonstrated effective implementation of a management system,” said A. Joseph Falcsik, SRI’s vice president, certification. “ANSI/AIHA Z10‐2012 certification provides evidence to customers, suppliers, employees and their community of their commitment to a healthy, safe working environment.”
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• Durham School Services raises $6,400 for Special Olympics