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presentations on preparing for school bus emergencies. Te topic of evacuations always comes up, and drivers in particular want more direction on when to evacuate, what to do with the children, and what else to do. In Reno, we will hit on these topics for sure, but for now I would like you to think about what information you would relay to your dispatch or the 911 operator about the incident your involved in. We as emergency respond- ers send resources based on dispatch information such as location, possible number of in- juries, type of incident (roll-over, under-ride, down an embank- ment, into a waterway, fire, power lines down, etc.), and if a school representative is en route to the scene. Te information you give emergency responders needs to be accurate and infor- mative to expedite response and operations.


A STANDARD DIRECTION? Last November, I wrote an


article for STN on flammability, smoke and suppression systems ("Where Tere's Smoke"). Tis was a continued review of forth- coming legislation and testing. Below is an excerpt from my article last year that remains rel- evant and will certainly be part of our discussion in Reno with researchers Rosen and Peoples: “As a firefighter, I suspect that


most fires on school buses originate near moving parts (the brakes or the engine compartment). Te engine compartment is certainly a concern in aging fleets and even in new fleets where a plastic com- ponent ignites after being heated substantially. Just a few years ago I remember reading about a prob- lem with an oil filter that allowed oil to spray all over the engine and start a fire. Te Nevada Legislation, for


example, has passed new standards for new school buses that will go into effect July 1, 2016. In the Oc- tober 2011 position paper on flam- mability standards, the National Association of State Directors of


Pupil Transportation Services did not endorse the Underwrit- ers Laboratory 94 Standard for Safety of Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances Testing because they were not developed for motor vehicles. Tis UL standard is one option in the new Nevada bill. My take on the engine com-


partment suppression has a few folds. First, I’ve been to a lot of engine compartment fire, and the plastic is always destroyed, so I am skeptical that plastic components in school bus engine compartments will not burn. Second, suppression systems in


homes, kitchen hoods, and commer- cial occupancies save lives. Heck, we even have one in the fire pump bilge area of our fire boat, so why not work towards putting them in school bus engine compartments? Lastly, in addition to regu- lar pupil evacuations drills, the suppression systems will create valuable time for those drills to be even more effective."


U.S. STANDARDS It was explained to us that


the National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) is not a legislative body per se, but instead finalizes indus- try-wide standards. Individ- ual states participate in the procedures and then may adopt the finalized guidelines into their states specifications either by their own local legislation or administrative action. So, in the end, even with a


greater movement in recent years to give more teeth to the NCST manual, there is no U.S. industry-wide adopted standard when it comes to fire on the school bus. Some of the most recent National School Bus Specification and Procedures include:


Te bus shall be equipped with at least one UL-approved pressurized, dry chemical fire extinguisher.


Chassis manufacturers may


provide an automatic fire sup- pression system in the engine compartment. More in the next


www.stnonline.com 55


What Readers Say About Fire Safety


Have you had a “thermal event” or fire on one of your buses in the past year? Yes: 11% No: 89%


Do your school bus drivers know when and when not to evacuate a bus? Yes, anytime smoke is visible or smelled: 79% Yes, when fire is visible: 7% No: 3%


I don’t know: 11%


Do you think driver training is adequate in your district for evacuating students? Yes: 70% No: 30%


Do you think there are enough training offerings available at the state level? Yes: 37% No: 63%


How about nationally? Yes: 29% No: 71%


Is there adequate evacuation training for students with mobility challenges? Yes: 27% No: 73%


Are your drivers trained on what to do with students after they are evacuated? Yes: 94% No: 6%


Are your drivers trained on crowd control with regard to bystanders? Yes: 30% No: 70%


Are your drivers trained on how to interact with emergen- cy personnel who respond to a bus fire? Yes: 64% No: 36%


Are your drivers trained on the differences between rear-en- gine and front-engine fires? Yes: 34% No: 66%


Are your drivers and/or mechanics trained on how plastics in the engine com- partments can emit toxins during a fire? Yes: 35% No: 65%


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