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School bus safety measures taken
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Overdue improvements in safety for both employees and students have been made by Durham School Services, which now operates the county’s bus fleet.“We’ve taken steps that should have been done several years ago,” said Randle Gann, head mechanic at the school bus shed now run by Durham School Services.In his presentation to the School Board, Gann wondered why such safety steps were not taken long before Durham took over. Gann pointed to simple implementations such as requiring the use of safety goggles while changing batteries, storing hazardous materials in a flame-proof cabinet, installing lit exit signs through the garage, installing an eye wash station, and installing an oil rag bin to reduce the risk of fire.Gann noted drivers, students and other members of the public are no longer allowed to wander into the building without clearance.“They used to stand around and loaf,” Gann said, noting only authorized personnel are allowed in the building.In addition to in-shop improvements, Gann said the bus firm has begun a preventative maintenance program where buses are inspected every 125 days. A maintenance schedule is kept on computer.“Every bulb on that bus must burn or it does not go out on a route,” Gann said, with Durham safety supervisor Brent Walling pointing out there is a rigorous pre-trip inspection which must be done by drivers every day prior to taking a bus on the road.Walling explained that drivers carry hand-held scanners to various portions of the bus.