Charlotte County firefighters debuted a banner Thursday morning imploring motorists to slow down at bus stops and stop for the kids.

“With the increase in the number of children and adults being injured at bus stops, or fatalities, we thought it would be extremely important for us to come out here and promote the awareness to slow down and stop at school bus stops where they’re loading and unloading children, to hopefully prevent further injuries and fatalities,” said Lt. Craig Soosh.

Two banners were attached to a firetruck at 3883 South Tamiami Trail, a bus stop for Peace River Elementary. One side featured Santa Claus with the message, “Slo-ho-ho down,” while a second banner on the opposite side features a school bus with the words, “Stop on red. Kids ahead.”

Jennifer Bumgardner, a mom of a fifth grader at the school, said that stop is a busy area, with sometimes as many as 25 kids waiting for the bus. She’d like to see a safer bus stop and more parental supervision.

Soosh said the idea for the banner came from a fire lieutenant who responded when a child was hit after school in District 2.

Last month, five children were killed and many more were injured at bus stops nationwide, according to a press release put out by Fire & EMS Spokesperson Todd Dunn.

“During the holiday season we have more pep in our step to get home to our loved ones,” said Lt. Michael McNeely. “(We want drivers) just to be more aware of the bus stops and school zones and things like that and just to be a little more cautious and safe.”

Fire & EMS plans to set up the banner at different locations throughout the county.

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