One of the drills prepared drivers and attendants to respond to an armed intruderon the bus.
Houston school bus staff trains on survival rescue
More than 1,200 school bus drivers and attendants from Houston Independent School District (HISD) recently took part in hands-on survival rescue training to prepare them to respond to emergency crises on the bus.
HISD’s transportation services department held the training over two weeks in August, in partnership with the Houston Fire Department. The event took place at the fire agency’s training facility.
The survival rescue training featured mock emergency drills to prepare bus drivers and attendants for a variety of crises. The drills simulated the effects of a fire on a school bus, an armed intruder on board and a wreck involving a train, among other scenarios. All activities involved real school buses, trains, vehicles, fire, smoke, weapons and staged injuries.
“This training challenges every attendee with realistic emergency situations where the safety of the students on board will depend on their ability to respond successfully,” HISD Transportation Operations Manager Chester Glaude said before the event. “In addition, transportation team members will learn safe evacuation methods, student management, how to remain calm in a crisis, and first aid for burns and smoke inhalation.”
HISD’s transportation services department will also be rolling out a silent panic alarm, which has been activated on all of the district’s school buses. District officials said that HISD is one of the first public school districts to offer this feature.
The district’s drivers and attendants got another lifelike training experience last year, in a mock disaster drill. In 2012, the HISD transportation department added counter-terrorism instruction to its training. Part of the program was the disaster drill, in which an older model school bus was turned on its side and used as a hands-on learning lab for the transportation staff.
The drivers and attendants made use of previous training on such topics as student management and emergency evacuation, in addition to counter-terrorism. Also, the mock disaster drill involved staged human injuries, which allowed the staff to practice the first aid training they had received earlier in the year.
A recent Houston ISD training event featured mock emergency drills to prepare bus drivers and attendants for a variety of crises. Here, a trainee practices using a fire extinguisher.
HISD transports about 30,000 students per day on 890 route buses, logging about 14.4 million miles per year.
Gwinnett County adding stop-arm cameras to up to 40% of fleet
In an effort to improve student safety at school bus stops, Georgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is introducing an automated stop-arm enforcement program utilizing Redflex Student Guardian.
Redflex Student Guardian is a safety camera system that monitors and detects drivers who illegally pass school buses. Redflex has partnered with Blue Bird Corp. to offer the system to the district.
GCPS planned to initiate the program with the installation of 100 school buses by Labor Day. The district expects to outfit up to 40% of its school bus fleet later in the school year, officials said.
The Student Guardian camera system consists of a single enclosure installed approximately 6 feet behind the stop arm, monitoring traffic in both directions. The system is activated when the bus’ stop arm and amber lights are displayed and children are entering or exiting the bus.
Since the technology is automated, the bus driver is free to focus on students, according to the company. Evidence of potential violations, including video and photos, is submitted to local law enforcement to determine whether a citation is warranted.
“GCPS had many options for a stop-arm enforcement provider. We’re very excited and honored to be selected,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of Redflex Student Guardian.
“The Student Guardian program is already operating in five Georgia school districts, with another 66 programs operating throughout the United States. We are confident the program will serve as a deterrent in Gwinnett County, thereby increasing safety for local students.”
Student Guardian was developed by Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. GCPS has an agreement with Redflex to operate Student Guardian without any upfront costs to the district, city or state. The program is fully funded by violations, officials said.
GCPS transports 125,791 students per day on 1,709 route buses, logging more than 23.4 million miles per year.