- Published in Safety & Security
The school transportation industry announced in a release that a new TSA school bus training module will roll out next month to help transportation professionals better protect children and communities from terrorism attack.
The First Observer program is the new name for the previous School Bus Watch program administered by TSA and originally developed by the school bus industry from the American Trucking Association's Highway Watch program. The training program was rebid last year, and the three-year, $15.4 million contract was awarded to HMS Company, which has provided fleet management services to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and emergency call services for the U.S. Army.
First Observer was developed by the school transportation industry for the school transportation industry. Total Security Services International, Inc. (TSSI) headed by Don L. Rondeau, an international security expert and the program director of Highway Watch's Information Sharing and Analysis Center, is leading the development and implementation of the School Bus First Observer program for TSA and HMS Company, and the curriculum was expected to be finalized in June in consultation with NAPT, NASDPTS and NSTA.
Train the trainer presentations are scheduled to be held July 14-15 at the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference in Shreveport, La., on July 18 at the NSTA Conference and International School Bus Safety Competition in Greensboro, N.C., and at the STN EXPO in Reno, Nev., on July 29.
The training program is available to school transportation professionals who have previously completed a nationally-recognized, anti-terrorism or security curriculum such as FMCSA’s General Security Awareness Training, School Bus Watch or School Transportation Security Awareness (STSA).
Eligible school districts nationwide can apply for $50,000 in the latest school bus security, safety and efficiency equipment via a grant announced last month by NAPT and Zonar Systems.