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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
AP 557 - Bus Evacuations (Drill)

Background

A bus evacuation drill is to be done once per school year in the Fall (September or October and entered into AF 557 - Bus Evacuation (Drill) Form).  These evacuation drills need to be scheduled and reported by the Principal.  It is the school bus driver's role to perform the evacuation and ALL school bus drivers must participate.  It is important that all students, not just those who rely on bus transportation to get to school every day, participate in the evacuation drills, as all students will ride a school bus on educational trips or to extra-curricular activities at some point in the school year.

In addition, every trip that is not considered regular daily transportation must start out with the school bus driver providing an overview to all passengers of the evacuation procedures and expectations should an emergency occur while on this trip.  The verification that this is occuring will be reported by the supervising staff that is in charge of submitting the AF 559 - Bus Roster Form.

Procedures

1.  There are three “standard” ways to evacuate a school bus, although other methods can be devised for extreme situations.  The three methods are:

1.1.  Everyone exits through the front entrance door.
1.2.  Everyone exits through the back emergency door.
1.3.  Front half exits through the front door and rear half exits through the rear door.
2.  A safe evacuation in the shortest time possible is the objective, regardless of which method is used.  The procedures that students are expected to follow in the event of an emergency must be explained and practiced.

3.  In conducting a front door evacuation drill:
3.1.  Stop the bus, set parking brake, and remove the key. Leave the bus in gear;
3.2.  Open the door, face the children, and get their attention;
3.3.  Give the command: “Emergency drill, remain seated, front evacuation”; 
3.4.  Designate a student to guide passengers to an assigned place of safety;
3.4.1.  Helpers can be trained to assist the driver with evacuating and leading the students to a safe position away from the bus;
3.4.2.  Another helper can be appointed to count and assist passengers as they exit.
3.5. Position yourself between the first occupied seats facing the front of the bus;
3.5.1.  Starting with your right-hand seat, tap the shoulder of the student nearest the aisle to indicate that those occupants shall move out. Say, “Walk-don’t run”;
3.5.2.  Hold your hand before the occupant’s left-hand seat in a restraining gesture.
3.6.  When the students in the right-hand seat have moved forward far enough to clear the aisle, dismiss the occupants of the left-hand seats;
3.7.  Continue evacuation procedures as described, right and left seats alternately, until the bus is empty;
3.8.  When the last seat is empty, walk to the front of the bus checking to see that everyone is out; and
3.9.  After the drill, compliment the students, ask for feedback and discuss possible improvements for the next drill.
4.  To conduct a rear door evacuation:
4.1.  Stop the bus, set parking brake, remove key. Leave bus in gear;
4.2.  Face the children and get their attention;
4.3.  Give the command, “Emergency drill, remain seated, REAR evacuation”;
4.4.  Designate two trained older students to assist others out the rear door and another to lead the students to a safe position away from the bus;
4.5.  Quickly move to the rear of the bus and open the door;
4.6.  Position student helpers on the ground on either side of the rear door;
4.7.  Position yourself between the last occupied seats, facing the rear of the bus;
4.8.  Starting with the right-hand seat tap the shoulder of the student nearest the aisle to indicate that those occupants shall move out. Say “Walk- don’t run”;
4.9.  When the students in the right-hand seat have moved forward far enough to clear the aisle, dismiss the occupants of the left-hand seats;
4.10.  Continue evacuation procedures as described, right and left seats alternately, until the bus is empty;
4.11.  When the last seat is empty, walk to the rear of the bus checking to see that everyone is out; and
4.12.  After the drill compliment the students, ask for feedback and discuss possible improvements for the next drill.
5.  To conduct an evacuation using both doors:
5.1.  Evacuations using both front and rear doors should also be practiced;
5.2.  Additional student helpers will be needed to assist with exiting from both doors and ensuring that students move to a safe place once outside the bus.  
6.  Those who supervise the evacuation drills should consider:
6.1.  Safety of children is most important, and must be considered first;
6.2.  All drills should be supervised by the principal or other persons responsible;
6.3.  Bus drivers are responsible for the safety of the students; however in an emergency, the driver might be incapacitated and not able to direct the student emergency evacuation.  School patrol members, appointed students, or adult monitors should assist in these drills. It is important to have regular student leaders available who know how to:
6.3.1.  Turn off ignition switch and put bus in gear;
6.3.2.  Set emergency brake;
6.3.3.  Summon help when and where needed;
6.3.4.  Use a fire axe or kick-out windows;
6.3.5.  Set out reflectors;
6.3.6.  Open and close doors;
6.3.7.  Account for all students;
6.3.8.  Help small children off bus; and
6.3.9.  Perform other assignments.
6.4.  “Emergency drills” should be organized in a manner similar to fire drills and should be conducted regularly in schools;
6.5.  Drills should be held in a safe area, such as on school property;
6.6.  Conduct drills exactly as if there was a real emergency.  Do not permit children to take lunch boxes, books, etc., with them when they leave the bus – getting the child off the bus safely in the shortest time possible and in an orderly fashion is the objective of a school bus evacuation drill;
6.7.  Pupils should go to a distance of a least 200 feet (65 meters) from the bus in an “emergency drill” and remain there in a group until further instructions are given by the leader.
7.  Usually, students remain on the bus during an emergency. But, two situations require the evacuation of the bus:
7.1.  Fire or Danger of Fire: A bus should be stopped and evacuated immediately if the engine or any portion of the bus is on fire.  You must evacuate if:
7.1.1.  Passengers should move a distance of 200 feet (65 meters) or more from the bus and remain until the danger has passed;
7.1.2.  An immobile bus near an existing fire or near a fuel spill should be considered as in “danger of fire”, and students should be evacuated.
7.2.  Unsafe Position: In the event that a bus is immobile for any reason, you must determine immediately whether it is safe for passengers to remain in the bus. You must evacuate if:
7.2.1.  The bus is stopped on or within 5 feet (1.5 meters) of railroad tracks;
7.2.2.  There is any danger of sliding into deep water or over an embankment;
7.2.3.  There is danger of another collision. In normal traffic conditions, the bus should be visible for a distance of 300 feet (100 meters) or more. A position over a hill or around a curve where such visibility does not exist should be considered reason for evacuation.
8.  Drivers or other employees who come upon an emergency scene including a collision may need to take the lead to organize others to render assistance.
8.1.  A collision scene is usually chaotic.
8.2.  Most people who find themselves at a collision (excluding the injured) would like to help, but often do not know what to do.  Unorganized, they tend to cause congestion and confusion.  However, if a leader will take charge and approach them in a calm, firm manner, they can assist in bringing the situation under control by performing the following tasks:
8.2.1.  Setting reflectors and protecting the scene;
8.2.2.  Notifying police, medical, and school authorities;
8.2.3.  Directing traffic;
8.2.4.  Rendering first aid assistance;
8.2.5.  Obtaining blankets, water, bandages, etc.; and
8.2.6.  Supervising students.
8.3.  To maximize your chances of gaining co-operation and getting the job at hand done, the following points are suggested for organizing others to assist you:
8.3.1.  Remain calm. This will instill confidence and increase the chances of their following your instructions;
8.3.2.  Select responsible, mature-looking individuals to help;
8.3.3.  Ask for their help with a specific task in a firm and “commanding” tone;
8.3.4.  Make your request briefly, but clearly, keeping to the point;
8.3.5.  Ask your assistants to repeat the directions back to you to ensure they clearly understand what is required; and
8.3.6.  Upon completion of the task, have the assistants report back to you. (e.g.: Assistant: “I called the police!  They will send an ambulance and be here in 10 minutes”.)  This step is important to ensure that vital tasks get done.
9.  Bus patrols can be established at the beginning of the school year to assist with the safety of buses.
9.1.  Students who participate in these bus patrols will assist in the safe transportation of students in the following ways:
9.1.1.  It helps ensure that the driver will have assistance in an emergency situation;
9.1.2.  If a driver is incapacitated by a collision, there will be a responsible person to take control of the situation; and
9.1.3.  Efficient evacuation of a school bus requires the participation of more than one person.
9.2.  The requirement to be a bus patrol member is maturity and a responsible attitude.  It is best if at least one patrol member lives near the end of the school bus route so this person is on the bus and able to be of assistance if required.
9.3.  School bus patrol members should be well trained in evacuation procedures. 
10.  In the event of a collision, there are four authorities that drivers must contact in the following order of priority:
10.1.  911 (where services exist);
10.2.  Medical;
10.3.  Police; and

10.4.  School.


Reference:  Saskatchewan Safety Council School
Bus Evacuation Procedures

June 26, 2012