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the driver, are injured or experiencing a medical emergency and are unable to make the call for help. What then? Have you really practiced those evacuations drills? Furthermore, have you thought to empow- er the young people on your bus to help in the event of an emergency? It might sound crazy, but that jokester in the back of the bus may be the cool, calm and collected kid you need to step up when your cargo needs help the most.

SUGGESTED PLANNING No one hopes to be involved in a school

bus crash or other emergency. However, a risk assessment for Anywhere U.S.A shows the need to be prepared. Below are a few planning suggestions: —Reach out to your local fire department and see if you can bring a school bus or two by the firehouse during a training session. Show the first due rescuers your vehicles (exits, hydraulic/electric lifts, battery loca- tions, any alternative fuels, handicap specif- ics, etc.). Encourage them to get hands-on extrication training if they have had none. —Establish a standard accountability

method for the school bus passengers. Communicate your method with emergency responders because they will be working to secure the scene and ensure accountability of all involved. —Law enforcement officers will secure the scene, but also coordinate with them a pre-established location for the media and inbound parents. Tis is a big reason why we want to know if a school representative is en route to the scene. Not only will they be able to help identify students, but they could bring a school flag to designate a location for parents to get information, and a different flag for media briefings. Te key here is to publicize this infor-

mation and maybe even make it a standard during any school related incident.

THE EXIT In the end, we all as protectors, trans-

porters and rescuers of our nation’s children must constantly train and prepare for the uncertain, probable and unfortunate. Cheri Clymer, a retired school transpor-

tation safety trainer from Loveland, Colo., said, “You have to have a little fear in your

gut and know what you’re transporting to keep you on point.” In addition to this bit of fear, I would

suggest that we overcome the growing trend to spend funds in direct disproportion to what is most important, the people. Invest in the training and education of those behind the wheel. If they are faced with a challenge unmet before, they will respond with pose and composure. 

Paul Hasenmeier has been a firefighter since 2000 for the Huron Fire Department in Ohio, as well as a paramedic, fire inspector and SCUBA diver. He has knowledge in numerous technical rescue disciplines and is a member of Ohio’s Region 1 USAR team. He also is lead instructor for the Ehove Career Center Fire Academy, an adjunct instructor for Bowling Green State University Fire School, and part of the adjunct faculty for Lorain County Community College. He is a contributing author to multiple trade publications and has presented throughout the United States and Canada. Hasenmeier can be reached at or

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