We are not accustomed to looking for heroes in common places, thinking that those who save lives must come to us from somewhere amazing. Surely, they must be incredible individuals or, at the very least, people who have dedicated their lives to helping others, like police officers and other emergency personnel. However, as we’ve seen throughout history, heroes can be anyone, even people we interact with every day.
A simple Google search for “bus driver saves life” yields more than 700,000 results. These results are filled with news stories and videos about bus drivers, common people that children interact with daily, saving lives.
In popular culture, the school bus driver holds a special place. Chris Farley’s bus driver in Billy Madison is a vindictive and petty man, while The Simpson’s Otto is beloved by the children he endangers with his lackadaisical burnout methods. While these characters are played for laughs, in real life, parents depend on bus drivers every day to safely transport their precious children.
A bus driver’s duty to their charges can begin and end with safe driving, but given the importance of their cargo, there is a large argument for the driver to do more for the safety of the children. The easiest and perhaps most important thing for a bus driver to learn is basic first aid.
Even with a safe ride, there are any number of emergencies that can occur with children. Parents will tell you that kids are always inventing new ways to stupidly injure themselves. Bumps and scrapes come from some of the most amazing sources and actions. More serious injuries may cause bleeding, choking, or even loss of consciousness. With first aid training, bus drivers can attend to these problems until professional medical personnel arrives.
Learning out to deal with choking is a critical skill that bus drivers can benefit from knowing. Kids will put anything and everything into their mouths, regardless of whether or not it is edible. Even older children can start choking when they put too much food in. For worst-case scenarios, CPR is also vital to learn.
Beyond accidents and run-of-the-mill childhood stupidity, there are plenty of legitimate medical emergencies a bus driver may have to contend with. Allergic reactions can come about from not just eating peanuts, but even an errant bee on the bus can sting the wrong kid. Proper use of an EpiPen to hand allergic reactions can easily save a child’s life. Diabetic reactions are another issue to be aware of, especially if an older child has skipped a meal, as many do. Knowing what to do in such an instance can mean the difference between life and death.
Learning first aide as a bus driver can be the difference between tragedy and heroism.