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School Bus Types

A general review of construction types and features of school buses

A news report posted by MSNBC.com about a "church" bus crash reminds us of the severity and hazards posed by incidents involving school buses. According to MSNBC, there were 29 people involved in this event, 23 were children. According to the report, the crash may have been caused by driver over correction causing the bus to overturn onto its side and resulted in nine injuries.

Lets do a quick overview of buses and some quick tips that you can use today.

Types of buses
Various Type A and B vehicle
Type A and B - described as van-style vehicles, are usually small van conversions with a gross weight around 10,000 pounds. Type A vehicles may carry 8-12 passengers with the main door behind the passenger side front tire. Type B vehicles may carry slightly more with a capacity of 16-24 passengers. The door is in the same configuration as the type A. In the setting of type A/B van-style vehicles, don't be complacent; these vehicles are a measure of quality versus quantity. The van-style buses are often used for transportation of special needs populations adding an entirely different medical, emotional, and evacuation element to the situation. These vehicles may also include special ramps, lifts and restraint devices...you'll need to be familiar with these items to be effective in your rescue efforts.

Wide range of type C/D buses
Type C and D vehicles are the larger buses that you normal see used as school buses or other transportation uses. Type C vehicles have a capacity of 30-70, also with the front door behind the front wheel. Type A/B/C buses have a rear exit door and may have a side exit as well. Type D buses are those with the flat front and the engine in the rear. They have a capacity of 40-120 passengers. The rear exit is an escape widow above the rear engine.

Use of Exits
Keep in mind that the bottom of rear and side exit doors are about four-feet above the ground. Side escape windows can be six feet off the ground and open upward...with no "hold open" device.

Command and Control
These events will be challenging. Multiple agencies and responders, media, traffic and the environment will all play a role in your bus event. Add to that the fact that many school-aged kids have cellular phones...you'll have frantic family members on scene with, or perhaps a head, of you. Don't ever forget the probability your actions will be recorded, too. 

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