Gainesville Fire Rescue: Put safety first during back to school week

While planning a return to school next week, Gainesville Fire Rescue encourages all our neighbors to put safety first. Emergency responders from Gainesville Fire Rescue will be holding signs at several key intersections throughout Gainesville on August 25th, 26th and 27th to help raise community awareness.


Tuesday, August 25th 07:00-08:00 Littlewood Elementary, 08:00-09:00 Westwood Middle School

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Wednesday, August 26th 07:00-08:00 Stephen Foster Elementary, 08:00-09:00 Gainesville High School

Thursday, August 27th 07:00-08:00 Williams Elementary, 08:00-09:00 Lincoln Middle School

Whether driving, walking, riding a bike or taking the bus to work or school, please help keep our community and children safe by following some basic but important safety laws and rules.

COVID-19 Safety

Social Distancing- teach children to maintain a safe social distance (6ft) from others whenever possible, including at the bus stop, while riding the bus and at school.

Mask or facial covering- encourage students to consistently abide by school policies pertaining to face masks and facial coverings.

Hand washing- educate children to avoid touching their face, eyes, nose or mouth and to wash hands frequently, particularly after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

CDC Link 

School Bus Safety

  • Walk with children to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
  • Teach kids to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before boarding or exiting, and never walk behind the bus.
  • If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • If a child drops something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.
  • Slow down near bus stops and watch out for kids.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm means the school bus has stopped to load or unload children.
  • On a two-lane road or a divided roadway with no median, all drivers in both directions must stop.
  • Obey the traffic laws, signals, and speed limits.

 Bicycle Safety

  • Use your head, wear a helmet!
  • Tell children to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it, staying as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and obey traffic control devices, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers. Bicyclists should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
  • When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights and make sure your bike has reflectors. It’s also smart to improve visibility by wearing clothes and accessories that incorporate retro-reflective materials.
  • Share the road with bicyclists.
  • Stop before turning right on red.
  • Focus on the road. Avoid aggressive driving.
  • Obey the traffic laws, signals, and speed limit 

Pedestrian Safety 

  • Talk to children about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Teach kids at an early age to avoid distractions by putting down electronic devices and to always look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Children under ten should always cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally until age ten it can be difficult for kids to judge speed and distance of cars.
  • Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks at both intersections and mid-block.
  • Stop before turning right on red.
  • Do not pass a vehicle that is stopping for pedestrians. 

For more information about back to school safety, please contact Assistant Chief Stephen Hesson at 352-318-5982. Please like Gainesville Fire Rescue on Facebook or follow on Twitter for safety news and information throughout the year.

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