This week we continue our blog on bus security and what everyone in the school transportation operation can do to keep everyone safe and secure.
6. Prepare for various scenarios – During in-service training for school bus drivers, a variety of scenarios should be discussed. The drivers should be well versed in how to respond to any situation – from inclement weather to a hostage situation. Many districts have their drivers undergo TSA’s School Bus First Observer training. The 30-minute program gives an overview of how terrorists operate and educates drivers on suspicious activities that they should report. (But that’s another blog !).
7. Work with police – Establishing relationships with law enforcement can help bolster school bus security. They can collaborate on security training that will benefit both organizations. Meeting regularly and discussing topics such as security issues, can build a better relationship.
8. Utilize technology – Technology can’t replace driver preparedness, but it can supplement them to enhance bus security. Some school districts have launched a rider verification system where students swipe an RFID card as they enter and leave the bus. Older students have a code that they enter. Some are equipping their school buses with GPS tracking systems.
9. Force as a last resort – In cases of imminent danger, the bus driver may need to respond physically to a threat. A fire extinguisher, wasp spray, or de-icer could have multiple purposes. They could be used to fend off an attacker, first by spraying, then hitting him with it. The bus itself can be used as a defensive tool by accelerating, braking or swerving. This could through an attacker off his feet, giving the driver a few seconds to fight back.
10. Bring in outside speakers – consider bringing in an outside expert for training sessions with drivers. This could be a local police official or a security consultant. Annual training can keep drivers up to date on newest technology and known security threats.
Each school district should be proactive in training their school bus drivers in these steps to ensure that our children have a safe ride to and from school each day.