Hampton school bus drivers practice fire evaluation

HAMPTON, Va. - Approximately 180 Hampton school bus drivers are learning ways to keep your kids safe this school year.

The Hampton Fire and Rescue Department and the Hampton City Schools Transportation Department hosted a fire safety and evacuation drill training Thursday morning.

"What’s gonna burn in this is bus are the seats," Lieutenant Patrick McCormick said. "They are made out of synthetics, foams, things like that. They are gonna burn fast, they are gonna burn hot.”

Fire officials say nationwide there are more than 2,000 bus fires a year, roughly six a day.

One of the things that’s interesting about that statistic is a bus can be fully involved in two minutes," Battalion Chief Anthony Chittum explained.

Firefighters said kids usually hid under the seat during these emergencies.

“It’s super important to maintain accountable even with lack of visibility. So let’s go ahead and begin to evacuate, watching your step – try to maintain three points of contact," Lt. McCormick said.

This interactive, hands on training will help drivers during emergency on a bus. Training included using smoke machines to simulate a fire and evacuation procedures.

"I thought it was a surreal moment," Joan Lacey, who has been driving for over 30 years, said. "To see the bus and how quickly the bus fills up with smoke.”

With close to 14,000 students catching a ride each day, drivers hopes the training help ease any fears parents have when leaving them at the bus stop.