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Catoosa’s mechanics are on route because of the driver shortage, the department may need to call on mechan- ics from a neighboring district to come to the scene. Re-unification of students with parents can also be a challenge, so having routing software and drivers who update their routes is important, too, for accuracy in knowing who is on the bus at any given time. The other buses still on route also need support as usual. “We’ve learned from tragedies,” Jones added. “We train


everyone to use Automated External Defibrillators. I learned from experience when an employee had a heart attack in the garage, and we saved his life with the AED. He was on the cold concrete floor while we worked on him. To improve, we’ve added a yoga mat, scissors and a blanket near the AED.” Catoosa County Public Schools also ensures Stop the Bleed first aid kits are available in the transporta- tion facility and on every school bus. Each bus has a red emergency folder on board. Training conducted in October taught local paramedics to look for it when they respond to a call. Inside is the health information of every student on that route. “There are signs posted over the seats on special needs routes with information such as, ‘student non-verbal,’


or ‘do not evacuate without backpack, contains inhaler,” Jones explained. “Communication is key to saving lives, especially when minutes count.” Another training exercise that is becoming more main-


stream is teaching school personnel how to manage an active shooter situation. “The Apex training taught us a lot about how to be aware,” said Oceanside Unified School District’s driver trainer Tracy Mangold of an event held two years ago. “In our Apex SCF training, we learned how to recognize a problem before there is one.” For example, she said a person’s body language can


be a sign, such as if a student is really protective of their backpack. “Some of the training went against the grain of what


you think a school bus driver is capable of,” she added. “[The training] taught us how to take a pistol away from a shooter, but only under the pretext that a shot has been fired. If the gun hasn’t been fired, our trainer said that we should be compliant and follow protocol. We practiced hearing a shot, pulling the parking brake, yelling at the kids to evacuate and doing everything we can to subdue the shooter, who you hope has fallen when you pulled the brake.” “It’s all about survival,” Mangold said. ●


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