At an American Red Cross chapter meeting, Oscar Juracan stands in front of a poster that shows him with the student he rescued from choking.
Spring ISD trainer saves choking student
In June, Oscar Juracan of Spring (Texas) Independent School District (ISD) was honored for rescuing a student from choking.
Juracan, a transportation trainer for the district, was given an American Red Cross Certificate of Merit at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The incident occurred on May 31, 2009, while Juracan was training a new school bus driver. An elementary student named Isac Flores ran out of his house to board the bus while still chewing his breakfast.
As Flores was walking down the aisle to find a seat, Juracan noticed that he was choking and not able to breathe. Juracan quickly and calmly walked over to Flores and began abdominal thrusts until the child spit the food out and began to cough and breathe.
Flores was examined by the school nurse to ensure that he was OK after he was delivered safely to school.
“It was a natural instinct for him to want to help, he had the skills to help correctly, and he made a difference,” said Brian Weisinger, Spring ISD transportation director.
Juracan learned how to identify a choking victim and administer abdominal thrusts in an American Red Cross adult/child CPR course that is required for all Spring ISD transportation trainers. The district’s transportation department requires all special-needs drivers, auxiliary drivers and trainers to take the CPR course, and most of the regular drivers have taken the training, which is provided by a cadre of CPR instructors at the transportation department.
“It takes a hero mentality to step into a situation and do what you have been trained to do,” said Denise Chuick, Spring ISD safety coordinator. “[Juracan] stepped up and did what was needed using a technique he had learned in the training.”
Los Angeles USD receives $43M green school bus grant
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) transportation services division was awarded a grant of $43 million for the purchase of 260 compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses.
With the addition of those buses, LAUSD’s fleet includes 403 CNG, 100 ultra low emission gasoline and 90 propane buses.
“We are excited to support those technologies that help to provide our students and our community with a healthy school environment to and from home,” Superintendent Ramon Cortines said.
In 2003, the LAUSD board of education adopted a “Healthy Breathing” initiative, which mandated that the district only accept bids to purchase or to contract buses powered by alternative fuels or green diesel school buses that meet strict emission standards.
The recent funds came from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). While the CNG buses are valued at $180,000 each, the grant allowed LAUSD buy them for about $13,000 each.
“We appreciate our partnership with SCAQMD, who continue to help us with the financial challenges of school bus replacement,” Transportation Director Enrique Boull’t said. “Together, our goal is to provide new energy-efficient, lower-emission and safe school buses to our students.”
Columbus acquires six hybrids
Columbus (Ohio) City Schools continues to make progress in its goal of “greening” its fleet.
Last year, the district applied for and received a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program to replace six 1990 model year school buses with new hybrid diesel-electric buses. The funding totaled more than $1.1 million.
Steve Simmons, director of transportation at Columbus City Schools, reported that the hybrid buses were added to the fleet in August.
The district expects the hybrids to achieve a fuel economy increase of around 70 percent compared to a standard diesel. CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by more than 40 percent.