V. Loading and unloading of specialized equipment needs to be practiced as specialized equipment has become quite complex. After presenting this section, you may want to have participants practice:
- Correctly using and operating the wheelchair lift
- Correctly loading and securing a wheelchair using the securement system in your school buses
- Correctly securing a person using the lap and shoulder belts
- Securing and/or storing equipment, e.g., lap trays.
Lift operation should be practiced with and without people on the lift.
V.E. Ask the question and continue to probe until all of the members are listed.
V.F. Distribute Handout #6, Loading and Unloading. Review it with the participants.
V.F.1. In some school districts, there is a monitor who is responsible for loading and unloading.
V.F.2.a. Your policy may stipulate that the transfer of responsibility takes place at another place, e.g., the front door.
V.F.2.d. For instance, the parent might help the student onto the bus or fasten the seat belt or wheelchair positioning belt.
NOTE: A parent/caregiver's responsibilities may be limited or required by local policy.
V.F.3.a. This statement may not be true in your school district.
V.H.1. Occasionally a student with special needs has unique requirements that must addressed during the loading and unloading process. That student should have a separate loading procedure described in his or her IEP. This loading procedure will describe:
- What the student will do for himself or herself and what the school bus driver needs to help with
- What specialized equipment will be used during the loading process and when.
V.H.3. Tell participants that you will review how to load and unload students in the next section. This section focuses on the operation of the lift.
V.I. Distribute Handout #7, The Wheelchair Lift. Review it with participants.
V.I.2. Review the diagram and the parts of the lift. If your lift operation differs from that presented in the instruction, review the operation of the lift on your school buses.
V.J.13.a. This protects students who might approach you from behind from running into the lift.
V.J.18.a.1 Refer participants to Handout #8, Emergency Situations, for proper lifting techniques.
V.N.2.b. Remember proper lifting techniques when attaching the straps. Bend at the knees, not at the waist. Refer participants to Handout #8, Emergency Situations, for proper lifting techniques. Some drivers/attendants wear knee pads to be more comfortable when anchoring wheelchairs.
V.N.2.b.1 For example, you must not use a quick release strap AND a ratchet strap on the front, although you could use 2 quick release straps or 2 ratchet straps.
V.R.2.c. Discuss what discretion the school bus driver has in using warning systems. Although their priority must always be the safety of the students, they also have to consider the traffic that might be halted while they unload.
V.R.2.c.3 It takes 5-7 minutes to load a student in a wheelchair, if you are loading a student you load everyday. A substitute or a driver loading a new student will take longer.