PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mayor David N. Cicilline recently outlined a series of policies he is planning to implement in response to a storm on Dec. 13, 2007, that left students stranded on gridlocked buses late into the evening.
Cicilline cited systemic failures and a general breakdown in communications between Providence Schools’ operations staff and the city’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) as two reasons for the debacle.
He has asked for the following actions to be taken:
The city has modified its Emergency Operations Plan. The operation’s cabinet must automatically be activated when students are being transported during extreme weather.
First Student Inc. will establish a communication system that will improve bus drivers’ and monitors’ ability to communicate with the bus yard in the event of an emergency.
Providence Schools’ superintendent must establish a communication procedure that requires parents to be notified hourly by an automated telephone system when there are significant bus delays.
The superintendent must immediately establish a hotline to answer parents’ questions regarding their children’s transportation.
The superintendent must also reverse the current transportation schedules during weather emergencies to ensure that the youngest students are transported first.
In addition, Cicilline suspended Tomas Hannah, Providence Schools’ chief of operations, without pay for 30 days and has removed Leo Messier as director of EMA. Police Major Monty Montiero has been named its acting director.