Late Friday night on February 3, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio, a freight train containing highly toxic chemicals derailed from the tracks and ignited a quarter-mile-long fire. Due to the dangers and toxicity of this explosion, residents were ordered to evacuate their homes in the days to come. While the town is still navigating these ongoing devastating events, many civilians jumped in to help without thinking twice.
As we know, PSBA prides itself with the term “School Bus Heroes”, and that is because of our members, like McCarter Transit, Inc. With the mandatory evacuations in place and the severity of the ever-growing fires, schools were called to an emergency early dismissal. With road closures, working parents, and mass amounts of first responders, some students would be left with difficulty getting home or being at home when they arrived.
Dan Donnelly with McCarter Transit, Inc. tells our team, “We were requested to execute an emergency early dismissal today due to a train derailment and a controlled chemical release. Earlier this summer the respective Intermediate Unit, School District, and local Police Department hosted a training on emergency planning and active shooter. The learnings were very helpful and enabled us to develop a plan in concert with the School District’s administration, building Principles, staff, and our Team members. The plan identified impacted students and included contingencies for road closures and no one at home. We implemented the early dismissal plan and began rolling with a 45-minute notice. All students were delivered safely home/alternate stops or parent pick up according to plan… Unfortunately, it seems like just another day in the bus world. The training we had this summer helped as we were all working in the same direction and knew what our roles were. That is due to this type of planning/training, along with the excellent support from our drivers. I would recommend all contractors engage locally. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to all who are impacted”
We are so incredibly grateful and appreciative of Dan and his team who helped keep these pupils safe during this difficult time. It is members like Dan that keep our organization running and allow PSBA to be the proudest organization. If you happen to see Dan and McCarter Transit, Inc. please be sure to extend your thanks.