FHSD Bus Evacuation Drills Ensure Student Safety

Posted on 10/28/2019
Students participate in school bus evacuation drills

Francis Howell School District’s Transportation Department conducted annual school bus evacuation drills on October 22 - 24. The drills are an important component of bus safety and help ensure that every student knows what to do in the event of an emergency that requires immediate evacuation from the vehicle.

“The state requires one evacuation drill per semester,” said Robert Anderson, FHSD Transportation Safety Supervisor. “The state only requires kindergarten through sixth grade to do this. However, the District goes above and beyond and requires all students to participate.” 

In the weeks leading up to the drills, drivers educate students on emergency exit locations and how to operate them. In the event of an emergency, students can exit the bus through a roof hatch, emergency windows located on both sides of the bus, as well as front and rear doors. “Older students have also been trained on how to help their peers exit the bus, how to stop a moving bus, and how to use the radio if the driver were to experience a medical emergency,” said FHSD Director of Transportation Jennifer Simpson.

During the evacuations, the transportation department works in partnership with the schools to ensure that all students are safe and take the drill seriously. Warning flashers are activated as soon as the bus arrives, and drivers announce that a drill is taking place and provide directions for students. All students are instructed to sit down and scoot out of the rear door with the assistance of two student helpers to help reduce injuries. 

In the event of a real evacuation, students would meet in a designated area, approximately 100 feet away from the bus. The bus driver would be the last person to leave the bus in an emergency. 

“It is vital that students know how to safely evacuate in the case of a rollover accident or bus fire,” said Simpson. “The more we practice, the more it becomes muscle memory. Our goal is for students to have the knowledge of where each emergency exit is located and be comfortable evacuating out of the back door of the bus.”

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