VICENZA, Italy – Operations staff from U.S. Army Garrison Italy partnered with local Italian law enforcement and Department of Defense Education Activity school bus monitors Aug. 29 to practice emergency preparedness.
Their focus was a smartphone app that lets bus monitors alert first responders if they need emergency assistance, said Manuel Becker, USAG Italy’s operations chief.
“If something were to ever happen, there will be an alarm, that whoever is nearest the scene, will be able to respond,” Becker said.
During the hourlong exercise, more than two dozen school bus monitors used the app to trigger a simulated alarm during their usual routes, and successfully confirmed law enforcement’s ability to monitor and react if needed.
Tony Quaglia, host nation liaison from USAG Italy’s operations staff, worked with DoDEA and the Vicenza police headquarters or Questura, to coordinate the exercise with the bus contracting company to test this valuable safety resource.
The garrison team was also in the Questura Operations Center while the alarms were being activated. The Questura team demonstrated how they were able to see the location of each activation and how the chat function worked in the application.
“The USAG Italy team will continue to partner with the Questura to ensure the functionality and accuracy of the application and to build stronger relationships with our local emergency response counterparts,” Quaglia said.
With hundreds of U.S. dependents riding the bus daily, this tool enables the garrison to receive emergency assistance if needed and enhances the safety of the students.
“It is a nice piece of mind for families,” Becker said.