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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.

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

Zero-emission Electric School Bus

There are about 480,000 school buses in the United States with about 95 percent of them run on diesel. How many will change to electric?

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Electric School Bus

There are about 480,000 school buses in the United States with about 95 percent of them run on diesel.  Currently, electric buses can be about two to three times as expensive as diesel models.  However,  school administrators would ultimately save about $2,000 on fuel and $4,400 in maintenance every year. Many school districts across the United States are adding zero emission or hybrid school buses into their fleets.

States across the country are looking into using their legal settlement funds from Volkswagen defeat device settlement to buy electric school buses.  Just like electric passenger a decade again were few and far between, electric school buses are sparsely found in school district’s fleets.

School Bus Types

Below is a quick review of the 4 different types of school buses used in the United States.

:

School Bus Configurations[1][2]
(Images of Contemporary School Bus Models)
Configuration Type A2009–2011 Trans Tech/Ford Type BIC BE-Series Type CType C school bus (Blue Bird Vision) Type DType D school bus (Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX CNG)
Passenger Capacity
(typical)
≥10 typically 16-36 ≥10 typically 30-36 ≥10 typically 36-78 ≥10 typically 54-90
GVWR
  • Type A-I: ≤ 14,500 pounds (6,600 kg)
  • Type A-II:14,500 pounds (6,600 kg) and up
  • Type B-I: ≤ 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg)
  • Type B-II: between 10,000–21,499 pounds (4,536–9,752 kg)
  • over 21,500 pounds (9,800 kg)
  • (typically between 23,000–29,500 pounds (10,400–13,400 kg))
  • over 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg)
  • (typically between 25,000–36,000 pounds (11,000–16,000 kg))
Description
  • A bus body placed on a cutaway van chassis with a left-side driver’s door
  • Single or dual rear wheels on drive axles.
  • A bus body mounted to either a stripped chassis or a cowled chassis
  • The entrance door is mounted behind the front wheels
  • In most versions (stripped-chassis models), the engine compartment is located partially inside the passenger compartment next to the driver and the hood is significantly shorter than that of conventional buses (similar to step vans)
  • A bus body mounted to a cowled medium-duty truck chassis
    • In the past, the chassis was often supplied from another manufacturer, but more recently, the chassis manufacturer and the bus body manufacturer are the same company.
  • Although typically of cowled-chassis chassis design, a few Type C buses are of cutaway-cab design.
  • The entrance door is mounted behind the front wheels.
  • The engine is mounted forward of the windshield
  • A bus body mounted to a separate chassis.
  • The entrance door mounted in front of the front wheels.
  • Single rear axle or (very rarely) tandem rear axles
  • The engine is mounted next to the driver inside the bus (front-engine/ “FE”), in the rear of the bus behind the rearmost seats (rear-engine/ “RE”), or in between the axles underneath the floor (“amidship” or “mid-engine”)
  • The last mid-engine Type D school buses were manufactured when Crown Coachceased operations in 1991.

 

Type A Electric School Bus

Blue Bird offers electric Type C & D configuration school bus.

Propane School Bus

Green and blue bumpers and other surfaces on school buses can identify a school as electric powered. However, green is also used for school buses powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Propane.

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School Bus

HydroFusion Ram

HydraFusion Struts used as ram for a dash roll?

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HydraFusion Strut Ram

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.
Below  are a few pictures from the Advanced Heavy Rescue Symposium in Calgary, Alberta, that show HydraFusion Struts used a ram during bus extrication to displace a roof.

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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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