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School districts prepare buses for extreme cold

10:06 PM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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LAKEWOOD - When the temperatures drop, Greg Jackson makes sure that every one of his school buses are prepared to handle it.

"When the temperatures are in the single digits to even negative digits, that's where we have our biggest problems," Jackson said.

He is the Director of the Central Transportation Center for the Jefferson County School District. Before the cold front hits the Denver metro area, Jackson wants all of the drivers to run through a checklist to get the buses ready to be fired up in the morning.

"The biggest concern is making sure that the folks are doing the plug in every day," Jackson said.

Each driver needs to plug their buses in at electrical stations placed all around the transportation center. The plugs make sure that the batteries stay charged and the engine block stays warm enough to keep any fluids inside from freezing in the bitter cold.

Drivers also must make sure all the air is released from the air brake system in a procedure called "bleeding the brakes" to guarantee that there is no moisture in the tubes which could solidify in the cold.

"That's why we make sure drivers are taking the proactive steps to be ahead of it," Jackson said. "We can make sure that tomorrow morning these buses are ready to go."

He wants parents like Pat Vacanti to feel confident the school buses will arrive on time. Vacanti has three children that ride the school bus and when temperatures drop, he doesn't want his kids standing out there for a long period of time.

"We like to think that we're tough cause we live in Colorado and we can prepare for the cold and bundle the kids up and send them on their way," Vacanti said.

Because of the expected cold temperatures Wednesday morning, he may watch to make sure the bus is nearby before sending his kids outside.

"I figure if the school's going to be open and the buses are going to be running then our kids can handle it," Vacanti said.

Jackson is there to make sure his buses can handle it, too.

"If the buses aren't starting, we can't pick up students on time," Jackson said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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