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.
HydraFusion Struts used as ram for a dash roll?
The HydraFusion Struts were a game changer when PARATECH released the lifting/stabilizing device a few years back at FDIC. Rescuers can lift up to 10 U.S. Tons (9 metric tons) and to stabilize up to 20,000 lbs. with the tool. However, PARATECH’s HydraFusion Struts are not limited to just those two functions. The HydraFusion Struts can move metal!
I first ran across pictures of HydraFusion Struts used as ram from pictures that Brock Archer (Advanced Extrication) and Randy Schmitz ( Founder/Owner of Schmitz Mittz). Last weekend at Crunchtime Extrication, Paratech had one of their trailers at the training event and I had the chance to try a dash roll with a HydraFusion Strut. Take a look at the video below.
A few quick points:
- You can put the HydraFusion Strut in place to reduce any dash movement during reliefs cuts.
- HydraFusion Strut are portable and can be moved quickly to a vehicle hundreds of feet of the roadway.
- Depending on the length of the HydraFusion Strut used, strut extensions can be used to optimize dash movement.
- Using a HydraFusion Strut as a ram is an option, not always the option.
School Bus Construction
Here’s a great look School Bus Construction.
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.
School Bus Lift
A picture is worth a thousand words….
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:
- Identify the load (Type C or D School 30,000 Lbs)
- Stabilize the top vehicle
- Lower the bottom vehicle (Remove the air for the tires and/or capture the suspension)
- Lift the top vehicle
- 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.