Emergency evacuation of school buses
It is important that you and your passengers know how to get out of the bus using the emergency exits, and how to use the safety equipment. It is also important that you inform authorities and request assistance if time allows.
It is your responsibility to set up a routine evacuation practice. In an emergency, practice can mean an orderly and speedy evacuation even if you are injured and unable to help. This practice should take place at the beginning of the school year and every month afterward.
Co-ordinate practice drills with the school administration and hold your drills in a safe, traffic-free area on school property.
The objective is to get the children off the bus safely in the shortest possible time and in an orderly way.
The standard emergency exits are:
- Front exit
- Rear exit
- Both front and rear
- Roof hatches and side push-out windows provide additional exits when needed; a driver must be aware of the use and operation
- Assess the situation. Generally, the quickest method is to use both front and rear doors. If those exits expose people to other dangers such as fire or traffic, choose the safest exit.
- Remain calm. Speak loudly, but slowly. Ask the passengers to move calmly to the exit you choose.
- Assign a responsible leader to count the passengers as they leave and lead them to a safe area away from the bus. The leader should keep everyone together.
- Assign some taller students to wait at the rear exit on the ground at either side of the door to help as the students swing down. Another student inside tells the exiting person to “watch your head, put your hands on the helper’s shoulders and swing down.”
- While the other students remain in their seats, the students closest to danger should leave one seat at a time by walking to the exit.
- All articles such as lunches, books and so on should be left behind.
- As the last person leaves, walk the length of the bus to be sure everyone is out, and then exit yourself. Begin first-aid treatment if necessary. Assign two responsible students to go for help, if needed, and organize helpers to put out warning flares or reflectors as required.
Practice cannot eliminate all injury, but it will certainly reduce the possibility of unnecessary injury to yourself, your passengers and other motorists.