Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Training Bus

Before I get to the bus pics I'd like to congratulate Sue of Susan's World for placing 3rd in her local Road-eo! She now gets to compete in the regional competition and I wish her the best of luck. I missed competing the last two years but I'm signed up for this year.

I mentioned in my last post that we had taken the training bus to one of the schools and Edith asked for more information about it. A few of you may remember the earlier pictures and excitement here as the bus was being rebuilt to suit our needs but I really haven't talked much about it in the last year. Since safety training is one of my passions I thought I'd review the history of our bus.

Many years ago we borrowed this bus to teach emergency evacuations to our students. It is owned by a district in another county and always books up fast! Here it was being used at a Safety Fair that I attended. You can see a student being helped out of the roof hatch.
I love this bus because it has railings so drivers and students can actually practice going out the window and roof exits. Being able to do it myself really changed the way I conduct my thrice annual evacuation drills.

Back in 2006 I did very poorly at the regional Road-eo but one of my teammates did well and went on to the state competition. While she was there she saw a bus redesigned to simulate a rollover accident but that could also be used for regular window and roof hatch drills. I don't own a picture of their bus but you can find their pictures here. That district was much too far away to borrow the bus, so she brought back pictures and started talking about building our own. She got drivers together from across the region and we started fund raising. That generated a blog to both thank our sponsors and to update everyone on the progress.

This is what we ended up with. We do not have the safety rails or ladders that the other buses have as the local fire departments expressed an interest in being able to use the bus to train their personnel.

Here you can see the roof hatch on it's side. Right now we use the bus simply to show students what the bus will look like inside if there is a roll over and get them thinking about where they'd end up and what they would need to do to get out. It also allows us to get a dialog going with them about overall bus safety while we really have their attention.

We have mats that we can use but we're still working out how to allow the kids to use the exits without anyone getting hurt. The bus is available for use by any school district in the area.

We also use our everyday rides to teach safety to the kids and their parents. At our annual safety expo in October I do a mirror demonstration where I put the parents in the drivers seat with the kids behind them and ask them what they can see in the mirrors. They are always surprised by how little they can see inside the bus. Meanwhile I have items that a child might drop near the bus scattered around outside along with a car parked up tight to the rear bumper. We also usually have someone teaching safe crossing, we bring a wheel chair bus and chair and one of our volunteer firefighters runs a smoke bus which you see below. That's Mike (a couple of years ago) learning to sit and slide as he goes out the rear door.

I'm looking for ideas that we can use to create another hands on learning experience at our next expo in October and I'd love to hear any ideas you may have!

And if you're curious as to how the bus was cut and flipped, here is the slide show I created back then.


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing - and for linking to me. I'm looking forward to checking out the blog and other links. I wonder how we could use something like that...currently we have an annual competition in the elementary schools but that's about it as far as educating the students about bus safety.

    Have a great day.

  2. How wonderful to have buses to train for emergency situations.

  3. Wow - that is the coooolest bus - the work that went into that - wow -

  4. What a great educating tool your bus is! You've all worked hard and done a great job making it all come together. Glad the bus went over so well at the Fun Fair.
    I could swear I've commented on at least one of your recent posts but couldn't find any evidence of it. I've been reading most of them but apparently the comments are floating somewhere in cyberspace.
    Either that, or I'm getting senile. It could very well be the latter :)