On May 14, Brake was on a morning route and was on her way to an elementary school in Mulmur when 9-year-old Abby approached her and tugged on her sleeve in distress.
“Sarah is a new driver for us who had completed her first aid course three weeks earlier,” said Jill Mather, site supervisor of Stock’s facility in Orangeville, Ontario. “She executed the steps she had just learned.”
After a few quick questions, Brake realized that Abby was choking, so she removed her from the bus and administered the Heimlich maneuver three times. This successfully dislodged the food and allowed Abby to breathe. Brake also helped Abby relax and calmed the other students on the bus.
Brake was recognized at a local safety meeting in Orangeville on May 16 in front of her peers and the Upper Grand District School Board. Officials said Abby’s mother shared an emotional moment with Brake as she presented flowers to her daughter’s school bus driver.
“Sarah is a shining example of how bus driver training can save lives,” Mather said. “It’s all about knowing what to do, and then quickly doing it while staying calm and in control. Sarah could not have handled that stressful situation any better.”