3 Ways to Tell if Your Bus Fleet is Emergency Ready
published on January 26, 2016 by Sonia Mastros
The jobs of school bus drivers and transportation administrators are vitally important. As the adults responsible for getting students to and from school, field trips, and special events safely, taking appropriate precautions to prepare for and respond to emergencies is an important part of these jobs.
Parents trust school bus drivers to take over twenty three million students to and from school each day. Most of these rides happen without incident, but accidents and other emergencies are bound to happen, and how transportation professionals respond can make all the difference when it comes to student safety. Here are some tips for keeping your students and drivers safe and your fleet emergency ready.
Conduct Regular Emergency Drills
School bus evacuation drills are a must for preparing drivers and administrators, and for ensuring student safety. A regular drill schedule should be developed, and these drills should include both drivers and transportation administrators.
Evacuation procedures and operating instructions for emergency exits should be appropriately explained to students. Providing targeted training for drivers and supervisors on how to handle a variety of emergency situations—from fires, to accidents, to acts of violence—should be a part your district’s standard continuing education and on-board protocol.
In order to effectively prepare for an emergency, particularly a bus evacuation, you must understand the functionality of each bus in your fleet. Regular maintenance should include testing all exit and emergency doors and windows. Today's integrated vehicle software allows buses to virtually diagnose their own maintenance problems. Utilizing vehicle diagnostic systems and regularly inspecting each bus will help prevent an emergency from developing into a crisis.
Lifts, fire extinguishers, and other emergency equipment should also be thoroughly inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they will operate during an emergency situation. Of course, tires, engines and all bus equipment should be evaluated regularly to ensure that all systems are working properly and ready to handle an emergency.
Identifying an emergency early can prepare administrators to respond. Equipping each bus in your fleet with GPS tracking software will allow buses to be tracked in real-time so that any stops or route deviations are detected instantly. Keeping in constant communication with each bus and its driver allows you to spot emergencies early and take action quickly.
To speak with a transportation expert about options for making your fleet emergency-ready, contact us directly.
We want to hear from you. What does your district do to prepare for emergencies?