Nowadays, it is more likely than not, multiple kids at a school will have some sort of severe allergy that requires them to carry an EpiPen. Recent legislation that goes into effect on Tuesday allows bus drivers to step in when there is this sort of emergency.
Starting on Tuesday, school bus drivers across the state will now be allowed to administer an EpiPen in an emergency situation. Many drivers like Don Barnes have already been trained to use one.
“It is part of your training to know your students and some of them do have notes given on allergies,” Barnes said.
“I can tell you as a pharmacist they are very easy to use. It does take a little acquaintance with the product. But the reality is they save lives,” Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes) said.
Since so many kids do have food allergies, many schools districts have taken steps to ban snacks being eaten on the bus altogether. Yet, an emergency still could happen.
“Working with the family to identify what the needs are. How we would respond in the event if there was an allergy. What specifically is that allergy and then we make sure to communicate that to transportation,” Rebecca Carman/Director of Policy and Community Development
Since EpiPens are expensive, many schools might not actually have one on hand, but bus drivers are allowed to administer them to kids who do own one.
“If we store them on the bus then they are prone to very cold or very hot environment which could definitely impact the effectiveness of it,” Carman said.
This might seem like a lot of pressure to place on a bus driver, but Don Barnes says he isn’t worried.
“It comes with the program. I’m willing to do it if need be and do whatever it takes,” Barnes said.