NKN School District and First Student Inc. celebrate school bus safety

Celebrating 28 years of safety minded operation Neah-Kah-Nie’s First Student school bus service hails an exemplary year of incident-free service to North Tillamook County.

By Brian Cameron
“We care as much about safety for all the kids as well as our entire staff as well,” said Michele Aeder, Location Manager for First Student in Rockaway Beach. “Safety is one of our core values.”
Recently Aeder was invited to the national meeting for Location Managers in Dallas Texas, an annual meeting organized by First Student Inc. to showcase the hard work their representatives do on behalf of not only the company, but the communities and families for which they serve.
According to Aeder this last 2016-2017 school year showed impressive results in regards to safety and the school bus service. Throughout the year all the busses logged 128,755 miles driven in total, and during that duration there were zero sleeping children left on the busses, zero preventable accidents, zero injuries (at least pertaining to worker’s compensation claims, or lack thereof), and the local affiliate achieved Gold Shop Certification through ASE (National Institute of Automotive Services Excellence).
“Out of the 550 locations that First Student operates we are truly one of the smallest,” said Aeder. “When I went to Texas I was pleasantly surprsised to receive the accommodation,” Aeder said. “We wear many hats in these small communities, its nice to recognized for it.”

Training drivers
In addition to achieving such safety goals First Student Inc. also held its seasonal driver’s training for new bus drivers.
On a gorgeous sunny Monday First Student Inc. set up a number of cones on the paved parking area of Tillamook’s Carnahan Park so their new driver can learn the ropes of school bus operations.
“I’m enjoying it quite a bit,” said A.C. Wise, First Student driver in training. “Things are a lot different here in Oregon and thankfully the driving isn’t as crazy as where I am from.”
Wise recently became a North Coast Citizen two years ago in order to escape the southern Georgia summer heat. Hailing from Macon, Ga. originally Wise had difficulty hiding his southern drawl but was unfazed as he delicately navigated the large yellow school bus both forward and backward through a marked training course. First Student supervisor Angela Franske who was busy grading his performance and making sure things run smoothly accompanied Wise as he went through the course.
The particular focus of the course is “skills station,” which takes new bus drivers on a 10-hour session of training before they actually get to drive the school bus on actual roads. The purpose is to familiarize new drivers with the clearances, handling and capabilities of the busses First Student operates.
“I think things will be running pretty smoothly this year,” said Franske. “We are a good team that focuses on safety, it’s great to be part of it.”