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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
Had an interesting opportunity today. The bus drivers with Southland transportation in my area meet once a month for a safety meeting, and at the invitation of their safety co-ordinator (who is AMAZING!), I was asked to speak on the topic of anaphylaxis. There was some discussion before I started speaking. :popcorn I was shocked that not only did they not have any policy in place, they have had no training, and many believed that they were not allowed to give Epi for liability reasons. A few mentioned that they were told they had to wrap the child's hand around the pen, then cover the child's hand if they had to give it. :confused One driver related a story about a peanut-allergic child on the bus who was pelted with peanuts. At that point, another driver scoffed "what, we're going to have to check backpacks now?". :verymad Then this large, trucker-style driver stated simply that he would have stopped the bus, turned it around, and taken it back to school and let the principal deal with it. There was even a funny discussion how to handle it when a bee makes it onto the bus.

What was I going to say in my 10 minute slot???? The audience ranged from SAHM's whose babies were in the meeting too, to retired folks from all educational backgrounds. I chose to read a couple of paragraphs to them from Anaphylaxis in Schools and other Settings, regarding how bus companies should handle it (the safety guy is writing a policy and it is currently in draft form), then the paragraph about how parents can sign a form to give staff permission to give the Epi, but should NOT sign a form excusing the staff from liability if they fail to give it. That statement hit the driver closest to me, and she summarized "So, it's the opposite then? We're more liable if we don't give it?" :thumbsup

I think at that point they loosened up and became more willing to learn. Still not enough time, but I managed to cram in some take-home points about time of onset of reactions (kids could react on the bus from something they had at breakfast), the need for the protein to be ingested to cause anaphylaxis, the need to have a plan in place for each student (I handed out copies of the Anaphylaxis Canada form) and most importantly, how to recognize symptoms. We then practiced with the training devices, and the safety guy played a video about what happens in a reaction. He also researched Sabrina's story and read part of it to the group so they would take it seriously.

Most left quickly, but a few stayed behind to talk some more, and take some extra practice. They were all told to find out which kids on their routes were allergic, and to talk to the child and / or parents to get a plan from them.

I've done alot of speaking over the years, but this was the most difficult one in terms of impact. I'm confident that they're in good hands with their co-ordinator though, he is really trying to put something in place. Bus drivers have so much to worry about safety-wise, I'm sure they were not crazy about having to add something else into the mix. It occurred to me afterwards, that when my son briefly took the bus in kindergarten, I never spoke to the bus driver about his allergies. :oops He had still never required an Epi for his reactions at that point though (even though he had one), so I guess I didn't think it was necessary? Oh, how much we learn over the years!

Next up - 2 community talks at the public library - one aimed at caregivers / coaches / camp leaders etc who need to know what to do in case a child in their care suffers a reaction, and the other aimed at parents of young children who aren't sure how to navigate the schools regarding their child's allergy. Hoping that a support group of sorts will spring out of the 2nd talk so we can all get on the same page!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 414
Wow, that's great! Well done! Thank you for doing this - I am sure you made a big impact on everyone who was there! :thumbsup

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
I am not surprised by anything you said in that post, Momtobunches, although I have never put my kids on buses, it sounds very familiar with what has happened with the schools here in our division and the previous one as well. I don't know why we can't get everyone on board with this here in Alberta....it is a lot of lip service from everywhere...but nothing much is getting done. I bit another bullet today and tweeted our Minister of Education....

I am glad that there are people like you out there Momtobunches, but this needs to change before we are petitioning for a named law in Alberta.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
Communication. Isn't that a concept? I thought about this post a lot. Here in our division, Parkland, our transportation (bussing) of the same name and I noticed in previous reports from one to the other on the board meeting minutes that they train (whatever that means, it could mean they are told to not administer and drive back to the principal for all I know) regarding anaphylaxis....I am sure I have saw that for a couple of years now. Probably has something to do with the fact that the Catholic school division used our buses and their policy reads much different. I guess that is up to each board where they want to spend money and as long as no one's kid dies, look at all the money they have NOT spent (public, I mean in this case..and no one has to be responsible because that is how the policy reads). Yearly training is not given to all
Quote:
An annual in-service plan for all regular staff members (including both teaching and support staff) and others who may be in a position of responsibility for students with serious or life threatening allergies.
See those words "may be", I think in the legal world that probably means a lot but is all that is required until some one has the misfortune and means(whilst grieving and money too) to change it. ...ie. someone dies somewhere in Alberta. I could be totally wrong on this....I am only a mom and by no means propose to know the law...but seeing what has happened recently, and then we need to petition??? :banghead :banghead

Also, back to the communication thing....we have a director of communications here now. (reread it this am in our local paper...more thought. http://www.psd70.ab.ca/OurDivision/News ... tions.aspx
Quote:
As Director, Mr. Leadbetter will be responsible for the overall communications strategy and planning activities for Parkland School Division, including all educational partnership and community relations activities. He will advise and counsel senior management and the Board of Trustees on all communications situations providing leadership in both internal and external communications.
Which begs the question, who advises and councils families? and he has a government, political background. You can tell by this statement
Quote:
In reflecting on his appointment, Brian comments, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the team as Director of Communications for Parkland School Division. PSD is known for excellence in education, and I look forward to working with all stakeholders as we continue to share the positive stories of student and Division success.”
Only the positive please. :roll:

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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