Emergency and Disaster Preparedness of School Transportation Staff and School Buses in the United States: Compliance With Recommendations for School Transportation Safety

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to determine the compliance of school transportation staff and school buses with recommendations for the safe transportation of children to and from school and school-related activities.

Methods

An electronic questionnaire was distributed to school transportation staff represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters during the 2013–2014 academic year.

Results

Analysis was performed on 558 completed questionnaires (13% usable response rate). Responders had previous training in first aid (89%), basic life support (28%), and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (52%). Seventy-eight percent of school buses in our sample had restraint devices and 87% had seat belt cutters. Responders reported the immediate availability of the following on their bus: communication devices (81%), first aid kits (97%), fire extinguishers (89%), automated external defibrillators (1%), and epinephrine autoinjectors (2%). Thirty percent of responders have had no previous training in the management of emergencies such as trouble breathing, severe allergic reaction, seizures, cardiac arrest or unresponsiveness, and head, neck, or extremity trauma. Thirteen percent of responders are unfamiliar with or have had no previous training on protocols regarding emergency shelters and community evacuation plans in the event of a disaster.

Conclusions

Variability exists in the compliance of school transportation staff and school buses with recommendations for the safe transportation of children. Areas for improvement were identified, such as educating school transportation staff in the recognition and initial management of pediatric emergencies, ensuring the presence of restraint devices, increasing the immediate availability of certain emergency medications and equipment, and familiarizing school transportation staff with designated emergency shelters and community evacuation plans.

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