Rachel Trimbell used her CPR training for the first time when a first-grader on her school bus with her started choking on a piece of candy last month.
Trimbell, 14, had just been recertified a week before in CPR training through the Fire Department Explorers program that participates in. Bus driver Dave Edwards knew Trimbell had CPR and first aid certification, so he called on her to help with the situation.
Edwards heard a student yelling “she is choking,” and said he remembers seeing a blank look on first grader Danielle Miller’s face. He then called out to Trimbell to help.
“I heard Dave yell to me that Danielle was choking, and I immediately ran to her seat and started the Heimlich. After about five or six thrusts, the candy (was) dislodged and she swallowed it,” Trimbell told School Transportation News.
After the incident, Trimbell sat and comforted Miller for the remainder of the school bus ride. The two have been riding the bus for several years together. Trimbell also visited Miller at her elementary school later that week to check on her.
“I feel good that I was able to use my training,” Trimbell said.
While Miller admitted she was scared, she was thankful that Trimbell was there to help her. Many school district officials also said they were proud of Trimbell for her actions.
“I am so happy that it turned out as it did, with everyone okay,” Transportation Director Tracy Williams noted.
While school bus drivers at the district are not required to take CPR training, it is a part of the mandatory 30-hour, entry-level education. Also, this bus did not have an attendant on board, as they are normally only used in New York when a student’s Individualized Education Program requires it.
Williams said the district’s school bus driver policy is to assess any situation and radio for help, if needed.