By law in NY we have to have our first evacuation drill within the first five days of school. My drills didn't go well yesterday. The older group got out very quickly but fully half of them refused to sit and slide opting instead for squat 'n hop. I was very lucky that nobody twisted an ankle. My new bus sits much higher than any other bus I've had. I had one new kid respond to a couple of my questions with "Who cares?" The second time he yelled, I calmly told him that I care and that if I have to turn off the radio and give daily safety talks to make him care too, I will. The other kids quickly shut him up for me.
With the little ones I only covered how to get out the back door. It took them way too long to get out. (I need to be able to clear the bus in well under two minutes, it took them three.) Even though I only had six kindergarteners, I have quite a few new kids. I think after they start doing the daily front door drill they will do better at just following each other and not bunching up in the aisle. In a couple of weeks I'll try to get permission and the help I'll need to run the drill again. Meanwhile I have lots of stuff to cover with them and only about five minutes a day so we'll go over a little bit at a time.
If you have a child that rides a school bus do they know how many emergency doors their bus has, where they are located and how to open them? Most kids will not count the front door as an emergency exit but that is the preferred exit if it is available! Ask your child if they know how to open the doors. The door at the back and the one(s) in the middle have a red handle that pulls up, you push the door open as far as it will go and on most newer buses the door will lock in the open position. What most kids can't tell you is how to open the front door. If their bus as a manual door they may tell you that you push the button and swing the door arm out. It isn't a button, it's a thumb rest. They have to pull up on the hand-hold and then swing it out. If their bus has an air door they will probably tell you that there is a switch next to the driver and there is. But they may not be able to reach it or it may not be working. They need to know where the air release valve is and it is in different places on different style buses. If they don't know tell them to ask their driver! The pictures below are of just a few of the dozens of styles of buses in use across the country.
Typical side door exit.
Rear door. On some transit style buses there is a large emergency window instead because of the rear engine.
The next 3 are all emergency relief valves. All are located in different spots. Varies for different model years and manufacturers.