VIRGINIA CITY, NV - First the Sparks Middle School shooting, then the Renown shooting. It's no longer if it will happen again, but when. That's what's leading Storey County bus drivers to learn what they need to do in a critical incident.
It's skills these drivers hope they never have to use. They're put through a scenario where there's a gunman onboard and they have to do everything in their power to keep themselves and their students alive.
It's a situation that's not unthinkable. A student sneaks onto a bus with a gun, then starts picking out targets.
"We need to offer as much or if not better training for the school bus drivers because they are more exposed," said Jeff May with Apex SCF
Where schools have limited entry, lots of staff to deal with problems, and several directions to run, that's just not the case on a moving bus.
"If I ever have to call a parent and tell them I could not protect their child, their life is over and so is mine," said Storey County bus driver Miki Wood.
The training starts in the classroom with law enforcement techniques for dealing with threats. Whether it's asserting dominance over the shooter or actively taking the gun away, it can be dangerous but it's better than doing nothing at all.
"The situation could be terrible, it could be terrible. We are going to learn skills today that will enable us to make the best, the right decision right at the right time," said Kelly Knapp, SCSD Transportation Director.
Scenario one: a kid in back pulls a gun. The driver reacts by jerking the wheel to knock over the shooter, then rushes to take over the weapon.
Scenario two: a shooter at a bus stop. Drivers are told not to stop if someone seems suspicious.
"I am looking forward to getting every one of my drivers in that drivers seat and practicing maneuvers today," said Knapp.
If you think you've never heard of this type of training before... you're right. This is the first of its kind for bus drivers.
The skills were developed by Carson City company Apex SCF. They hope the training catches on and more people prepare for worst and hope for the best.