Districts prepare school buses for freezing ride to school
ZACHARY - School bus technicians will be getting up extra early Thursday morning to prepare buses for freezing routes.
Low temperatures can wreak havoc on bus batteries. First Student technicians in Zachary will be on the job at 5 a.m. to make sure every bus is working properly. While the temperature is below freezing, buses take longer to heat up inside and others have problems starting.
A hard freeze warning is in effect 9pm Wednesday to 10am Thursday as temperatures are expected to be in the 20s for more than 9 hours.
"It's something that's happened in the past, we know it's going to happen in the future," said First Student technician Roy Clarke. "We try to be prepared so when it does happen, we're on top of it."
Clarke said this is a busy time of year for him. Wednesday technicians made sure each bus was full of antifreeze.
Drivers are prepared to adjust their schedules and come in early, too.
"We're ready to go," said First Student driver Oliver Humbles. "We make sure our engine is ready, make sure we got air in the tires, and the brakes are working, signs are all working and we hit the road to go get our kids."
Many drivers will head to work about 10 minutes early to start their engines and defrost their windshields.
"We're going to be one time, we're not going to be late, because we prepared for it," said Humbles.
East Baton Rouge Schools said they don't anticipate a problem as long as drivers prepare properly. In EBR, mechanics will also be at work early with extra batteries and ignition fluid. The district says it will make a call to drivers requesting they report early to their buses to warm them up in time.
The Ascension Parish School System also said drivers will report early to buses to ensure they start and heat up.
The districts advise parents to bundle up their children, so they keep warm while waiting at bus stops. As winds continue to blow around 10mph, wind chill or "feels-like" temperatures will be in the lower teens or even single digits.
A wind chill advisory is in place from 12am - 9am Thursday. Children dressed improperly can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia, which can happen quickly in these conditions.