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School Bus

Carrollton Bus Collision

I never fully appreciated the changes that were made to school buses after the Carrollton bus collision until my kids started riding on a school bus. The image below

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Carrollton bus collision

Carrollton bus collision

I lived in Kentucky and rode in a church bus on I-71 on the way to Kings Island countless times in the late 80’s.  The school bus crash hit close to home.  I never fully appreciated the changes that were made to school buses after the Carrollton bus collision until my kids started riding on a school bus.  The image below is an excellent recap of the changes  that have improved safety on school buses and saved lives since those changes were implemented,

Carrollton bus collision

Mike Smith, Absolute Rescue's Editor in Chief, is a veteran of the fire/rescue service in Michigan, who also works in the automotive industry as a designer. Have an idea of suggestion for the site? Contact Mike here

School Bus

School Bus Construction

Here’s a great look School Bus Construction.

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School Bus Construction

The video below shows parts of Blue Bird Corporations manufacturing process.  It will help you get an idea of where the strongest parts of the bus are located.  Of course different manufacturers have varying methods.

It is important to know the construction of school buses, so we can attack them in the weakest areas first.  Ultimately they are built like tanks to protect the passengers, which places the challenge on us as firefighters to gain access quickly and extricate rapidly.

Blue Bird’s trademark one-piece roof bows provide maximum roll-over strength.

Four full-length, 16 gauge exterior side rub rails are positioned to offer optimum strength and protection and are designed to resist penetration on side collisions; rails are dimpled at bottom fasteners to facilitate drainage and prevent corrosion.

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School Bus

School Bus Lift

A picture is worth a thousand words….

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School Bus Lift

I ran across the picture above in my Facebook find and thought that this picture is worth a thousand words.  If you take a look at the roof of the school bus, the instructors painted 5 steps for the students to follow.  The picture was posted on the City of Turlock – Fire Department Facebook page from some training the had on their new Paratech rescue equipment.

Here are the steps:

  1. Identify the load (Type C or D School 30,000 Lbs)
  2. Stabilize the top vehicle
  3. Lower the bottom vehicle (Remove the air for the tires and/or capture the suspension)
  4. Lift the top vehicle
  5. Separate the vehicles/extricate/patient removal

So what do school buses weigh?

School Bus Type Gross Vehicle Weight Rating*
Type A1 GVWR of less than 10,000 lbs.
Type A2 GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. A popular style Type A introduced in 2004 was rated at 14,000 lbs. GVWR.
Type B GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs.
Type C GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. Type C school buses typically range between 23,500 lbs. to 29,500 lbs GVWR, depending on seating capacity.
Type D GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. Type D school buses typically range between 25,000 lbs. to 36,000 lbs. GVWR, depending on seating capacity.

* Gross vehicle weight rating ( GVWR ) is the estimated total weight of a school bus that is loaded to capacity, including the weight of the vehicle itself plus fuel, passengers, and other miscellaneous items such as extra aftermarket parts.

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School Bus

School Bus Auxiliary Heaters

Rescuers often remove the side windows of a school bus and cut from the bottom of the window to the bus floor.  Rescuers need to locate any coolant lines prior to cutting to ensure the lines are not cut and leak heat coolant.

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School Bus Auxiliary Heaters

In the past, school district bus yards had to plug in the engine block heater on school buses to warm it enough to start a cold diesel on a winter morning.  However, this didn’t heat up the passenger area of the bus.  So school districts started installing auxiliary heaters which operate as hot water furnaces utilizing the buses own diesel fuel and batteries to produce heat. The heaters circulates engine coolant to transfer heat to the engine and heat exchangers.  Often, these heaters are timer controlled and start 1-2 hours prior to engine start-up.

The heater becomes part of the school bus heating system, supplying added heat for passengers while reducing fuel costs and emissions from unnecessary engine idling. An integrated pump circulates heated coolant to warm the engine block, making starting easier while reducing start-up engine wear.

 

The lines that carry the coolant thru the heat exchangers and the engine typically run along the floor of the bus.  Rescuers often remove the side windows of a school bus and cut from the bottom of the window to the bus floor.  Rescuers need to locate any coolant lines prior to cutting to ensure the lines are not cut and leak heat coolant.

School-Bus-Extrication-Aux-Heater-Safety School-Bus-Extrication-Aux-Heater

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