Terrorism…Keep A Eye Out!
I created this page on the site to give you a “heads up ” on learning about the subject of Terrorism, and how it effects you, the school bus driver.
Not too long ago, a Blue Bird Vision was bombed in Iraq. Granted, there is a war going on, but it simply shows that terrorists don’t care about children either…See the picture .
Here’s some food for thought…When you do your pre-trip, how thorough are you? do you just do what I see a lot of drivers do, which is a fast walk around. Not all terrorists are as obvious as this guy.
Obviosly, you wouldn’t let this guy set foot in your bus…BUT, Sometimes you can miss something…Would you have noticed the next two pictures?
Bomb mounted to right spring, by the door.
Here’s one mounted to the rear axle, by the rear brake chambers.
Would you have caught these?
Some things to remember…
A number of high-profile incidents involving bombs and bomb threats have taken place recently…
In January, 1999, explosion in a high school locker in Kansas City sent 11 students to the hospital.
An irate parent took the deputy superintendent and an associate superintendent of a California education office hostage in late November of 1998. The standoff resulted in police killing the parent, who had a gun and seven bomb devices as a part of his siege.
Ten bombs, fireworks strapped to aerosol cans, forced the closure of a California elementary school.
One Maryland school district experienced more than 150 bomb threats and 55 associated arrests in one school year.
Up to a pound of ammonium nitrate was brought to school by a Nevada middle-school student.
Eight boys confessed to making three homemade bombs, two of which were placed at a Minnesota elementary school.
And most recently, this story…on a bus!
An 11-year-old boy who was upset with his teachers brought a fake bomb on to a school bus and threatened to blow himself up.
The youngster had attached wires and batteries to a video game controller and told other students he planned to ‘detonate’ the device.
A panicked bus driver evacuated the other students from the vehicle – but made the ‘bomber’ stay inside with the device on his lap.Bomb squad officers sealed off the vehicle as a SWAT team trained their weapons on the youngster as he sat alone on the bus outside his school.
The device was later removed and destroyed by bomb squad officers who said it was harmless.
The boy, who has not been named, told police after his arrest on felony bomb charges that he was upset with his teachers at his school in Milton, Wisconsin.
The bomb drama began when the fifth grade boy boarded his usual school bus for the short ride to Milton Intermediate School.
The driver noticed the young student was carrying what looked like a bomb with wires and batteries attached to a device. He said he heard the boy say that he had a bomb and that he threatened to detonate the device either on the bus or in the school. As the bus had arrived at the school police evacuated all the students.
Negotiators spent two hours talking to the boy in an attempt to make him give up the device. Milton Police Lt John Conger said he didn’t know what motivated the fifth-grader to make the fake bomb. He said: ‘Apparently he was angry with some of the teachers. Beyond that, we don’t know.’ Lt Conger said the device was in a backpack and looked like a video game with a series of wires and batteries attached to it simulating a bomb, but he said there was no explosive device.
The boy is being held at Rock County Juvenile Detention Centre in Janesville on felony bomb charges.
Still think it can’t happen to you?
Buses are preferred targets for a few reasons. There is a high concentration of people in a small place, and high numbers of pedestrians or people on nearby buses may also be caught in the blast (as seen in the bombings in London, where one device was set off as two trains passed each other). In addition, during the summer and winter windows are kept closed on buses to maximize air conditioning or heat, and this also maximizes the blast effect. An article from the RAND Corporation graphically describes the effect:
“As a hail of shrapnel pierces flesh and breaks bones, the shock wave tears lungs and crushes other internal organs. When the bus’s fuel tank explodes, a fireball causes burns, and smoke inhalation causes respiratory damage.
All this is a significant return on a relatively modest investment. Two or three kilograms of explosive on a bus can kill as many people as twenty to thirty kilograms left on a street or in a mall or a restaurant.”
it is very difficult, because of practicality and cost, to screen all passengers, as compared to screening visitors to a building or event. Buses are far less secure because of their mobility and predictability – not only are buses exposed along miles and miles of routes with very little possibility of complete security, but it is also possible for terrorists to know their route in detail, since bus drivers are prided in consistency.
What can YOU do?
The school bus driver is the first line of defense in dealing with security issues and recognizing the potential of a threat.
Steering Outside compartments (for unknown objects)
Interior (for unknown objects or tampering)
At The Bus Stop
Individuals never seen before in close proximity to bus stop.
Individuals never seen before at the bus stop, talking to children. Notify your dispatch immediately.
Do not let any adult on your bus (including parents), close your door and notify dispatch. If you are forced into a conversation, politely ask them to have it at the drivers’ window. Parents should not prolong the bus stop with conversations to the driver (This is an easy target to identify).
Do not let a new student on your bus without authorization.
Do not deviate from your designated route. Do not make unauthorized stops.
Do not open the door or get out of the bus if road is blocked for no reason (i.e. stalled car, debris without a storm) Notify dispatch. In the event of a crash, be watchful for unusual behavior. (Could be a staged incident).
Be aware of conversations of students (i.e. weapons on the bus, unusual activity in school, fear of student entering or exiting the bus). Notify dispatch.
Drivers should make students, of all grade levels, aware that they care about their safety. (Students will be more comfortable when an emergency arises, they will talk about what they see that makes them threatened, and they will listen to the driver in an emergency.)
Student reports of items that may be suspicious (i.e. package, bag) Notify dispatch, find a safe location to pull over, and secure the vehicle. Evacuate your vehicle immediately. Close the doors of the vehicle to prevent re-entry. Have your passengers move 1000 feet from the bus, preferably upwind. Do not attempt to re-enter the vehicle. After immediate notification to base, do not use your radio or cell phone from this point on.Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
While at school
Suspicious vehicle(s) or person(s) outside school or on school property. Do not let students off. Notify dispatch and wait for instructions.
Do not let teacher or faculty on bus without proper identification.
Do not take an order from school personnel without knowing that person.
Do not let students off the bus if you feel that there is something wrong (i.e. no teachers coming out to receive students, police personnel present but not in sight). There may be unusual activity inside the school that you are unaware of. Notify dispatch immediately.
Post-Trip-after each trip and at the end of the day
Children left on bus
Evidence of damage
At The Scene of Serious Incidents
Rescue and care for the children.
Do not disturb the evidence.
Bombs on the bus are not the only threat that we face…Hijacking is another real threat that applies to buses as well as airplanes. Alot of the above mentioned items will help prevent you ever having that issue.
Here’s a little about that subject…
Every morning and afternoon we are entrusted with the responsibility of safely transporting our children, the most important cargo of all. That responsibility has become even greater now that a new threat plagues our neighborhoods — school bus hijackings. Throughout the country — including California, Florida, New York, and Utah — drivers and students have become the prey of hijackers.
What can you do to help prevent it?
1- When pre-tripping your bus, be especially watchful for unknown people lurking around the bus or your facility.
2- Do not allow any adult on the bus, and this includes parents! School employees and co-workers are the exception to the rule.
3- If you approach a stop and see something unusual, or you just have a “gut” feeling something isn’t right, call it in to your supervisor, and explain the situation.
4- If you have a railroad crossing, do not open the door all way. Just crack it open, especially if you see someone lurking around.
More to come…