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“I’m a massive advocate for the uplifting of the prestige


of school bus drivers,” Ward said. “They’re heroes, often working for low pay and with the most responsibility anyone could have. We need uniformity in school bus training across the nation and improved technology to have the right kind of response for any situation. Driver training has never been included in a piece of legislation before. We want Colorado to be an example, and to run the same piece of legislation in every state.” At Klein ISD near Houston, Director of Transporta-


tion Josh Rice worked with Rex Evans, the district’s emergency management coordinator, on an elaborate training. The full-day drill was developed for a Gulf Coast Association for Pupil Transportation meeting on March 3. A dozen local emergency agencies also participated. The crash scene consisted of a large school bus and a smaller special needs bus that were rolled over on their side. The buses used had been decommissioned, and a wrecker was used to position them to simu- late a rollover.


12% “The training started


with the driver mak- ing a radio call, our dispatchers called our police department, and they contacted fire and EMS, just like they would in a real emer- gency,” recounted Rice, who is also a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “The various agencies were staged down the road about two minutes away but responded in the real time it would take them to arrive at an actual accident.” Additionally, he said criminal justice students from


Readers who say they provided mock casualty training to transportation staff and emergency first responders during the


2019-2020 school year. (Out of 307 responses to a recent magazine reader servey.)


specific injuries, and they were told not to use the bus doors. Instead, they performed the extrication through the windshield. The student actors donned stage make- up, and the first responders wore microphones so all of the communications could be heard by the audience. “After the initial event was over, the firefighters stayed


longer and continued training,” Rice said. “It was a huge learning opportunity for everyone who participated. Unfortunately, Life Flight got called to an actual emer- gency [that day] and couldn’t respond. What I think the transportation people who attended realized was that once those multiple agencies became involved, they had to just step back. Usually when we go to an accident, it’s our bus, it’s our kids, and we’re worried about everything going on. In a training scenario like this one, you can watch and listen and really absorb a lot.” Jerene Jones, the transportation man- ager and driver trainer for the Catoosa Coun- ty Public Schools in Georgia, also took part in planning a rollover training that involved many local agencies. “There are many les-


35%


Plan to provide mock casualty training during the 2020-2021


school year. (Out of 296 responses to a recent reader survey.)


sons to be learned from a hands-on training,” said Jones. “We really wanted to put stress on the agencies and make it as realistic as possible. We learned that the extra bus sent to the scene parked too close and hindered the emergency personnel. While my instincts are telling me to get the kids out as fast as pos- sible, I learned that they


need to be assessed for injuries and safely moved.” Jones noted that one extremely important aspect of


the local high school participated in the drill as injured special needs students. “Each [student] was assigned a disability that they


researched,” Rice continued. “They then acted as if they had that disability during the scenario. They wrote a final paper on how the first responders treated them in rela- tion to their disability and described what they learned from participating.” Two Klein school bus drivers also took part in the exer-


cise, one playing a deceased person while the other was trapped and needed extrication. Firefighters didn’t know


32 School Transportation News • MAY 2020


preparing for a crash is to know your own as well as your neighbor’s resources. Other school districts, hospitals, fire departments and police agencies should plan together. “We took students to nearby hospitals, so our training


involved trauma nurses and emergency room personnel, who didn’t know ahead of time what injuries to ex- pect. The make-up was very realistic. Seeing one of our students with a sheet over his face, and our driver with a windshield wiper protruding from his chest brought tears to our eyes.” Duties shift when there is a major incident, too. If all of


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