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Last week we talked about how South Carolina has handled fires that have occurred on school buses.  Given the number of school bus fires, it’s very important that bus drivers take every precaution to keep them to a minimum — a task that requires constant vigilance, updating school bus safety procedures, maintaining equipment, and training.

But students can also play a part in helping to save lives and prevent injuries.  School bus evacuation drills can make a world of difference in preparing students to safely escape a burning bus. According to statistics, a fully loaded school bus can be evacuated in under a minute if the students have practiced evacuation drills.

During the drills, students should learn:
• When to evacuate a bus.
• The types of evacuations (front, rear door, roof, and side window).
• The importance of evacuating in a calm and orderly fashion.
• How to operate emergency equipment and open the emergency exits.
• Where to go and what to do once the bus has been evacuated.

In addition, older students should be designated to help the young ones in an emergency evacuation. Finally, the students should perform actual test evacuations.

The speed of the evacuation and the safety of the children involved are directly related to how well they have been trained.  Performing the drills on a regular basis and educating the students as to how to do it correctly is so very important.

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