On Jan. 23, Bryan Schaffer, senior special agent in Birmingham, Ala., was driving home in the rain when something unsettling came up on his police radio.
“I heard there was an accident involving a loaded school bus in nearby Pinson,” said Schaffer. He immediately went to assist and was one of the first three responders at the scene.
The bus driver had pulled over to the side of the road, but the ground was saturated and slick, so the bus slid into a ditch, first face down then onto its side.
Schaffer’s son, James, a Center Point Fire District fire explorer, arrived several minutes after him.
“We triaged patients. Everybody was crying and upset,” Schaffer recalled. “I’m glad we were there because you need as many people as you can in any incident that is that big.”
There were no serious injuries. However, 10 children were transported to Children's of Alabama Hospital. Most injuries consisted of bumps, bruises and scratches.
Schaffer reflected on the relationship BNSF police agents have with local law enforcement.
“BNSF Police rely heavily on local agencies. I have a personal relationship with all of the agencies along our track in my region,” explained Schaffer. “If I know they need assistance, I will go and back them up, just like they will back me up when I need help. It’s a partnership.”
Schaffer is proud that his position at the railroad allows him to help others. “I enjoy giving back to my community and supporting those who support my job,” he added.
About the photo: BNSF employee Bryan Schaffer, right, and his son, James, worked together to triage patients after the accident.