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Keeping kids safe: Chesapeake Fire and EMS undergo electric school bus safety training

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Posted at 5:02 AM, May 27, 2021

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - As we're seeing more electric cars and school buses on the road, local first responders are stepping up their response training.

Jonathan Hinson, Battalion Chief with the Chesapeake Fire Department and training director, said, "Anything that comes out that we could potentially respond to - we want to know about and be ready for."

On Wednesday, folks from the Chesapeake Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services received electric school bus safety training.

Daniel Droog is the trainer for the bus company Sonny Merryman Inc. Leading the group through the training, he said, "The important part of getting the fire department here is - if there's an accident, they need to be trained on what to do to protect themselves and the children on the bus."

From seeing where the battery is located to understanding the high-voltage circuit, Droog said the first responders are getting an up-close look at "how to disconnect the high-voltage circuit as far as the ignition key, and the battery disconnects to power down the high-voltage side for the safety."

Chief Hinson said, "[We learned] where the key components are as far as where we can safely shut off the bus if it's involved in a serious accident or there's a fire. And what we have to do to take our heavy equipment to get inside and rescue people or something like that. We want to make sure that were able to serve the citizens and rescue them and take care of them in a timely manner."

Hampton and Virginia Beach City Public Schools, also the recipients of Dominion Energy's Electric School Bus Program, just finished up training as well.

Chesapeake Public Schools, which is initiating the education, is also training bus drivers, dispatchers and technicians at the district's bus garage.