It is no surprise that children with disabilities are particularly at risk when it comes to fire on school buses. Despite an industry-wide understanding of the seriousness of fires, there are no national standard or requirement mandating the installation of fire suppression systems on school buses in the U.S. Fortunately, many bus operators and school systems are implementing fire safety measures on their own. They are putting emphasis on maintenance, driver education, and fire suppression system technology.
Better pro-active maintenance under the hood can help ensure that flammable fluids such as gas, oil and power steering fluids do not come into contact with hot running engines or exhaust parts that could cause a fire.
Increased education and training on the part of the bus drivers can also play a part in reducing the impact of a bus fire. Drivers are being trained to evacuate their passengers quickly to safety rather than fight a fire, which is often futile given the speed in which a bus fire can spread.
School bus operators and school systems are increasingly installing dedicated fire suppression systems rather than relying upon on-board handheld fire extinguishers. Automatic fire detection and suppression solutions are available that are specifically designed to deal with the mechanical and electrical fire risk areas on buses.
These measures can buy precious seconds that can help save the lives of these children who might be mentally and physically challenged and not able to evacuate the bus as quickly as others.