Drivers and aides need to work together to create a detailed, written evacuation plan for every route transporting children with disabilities. Plan for at least two basic emergency scenarios: an engine fire and a fire at the rear of the bus. In addition to creating evacuation plans for front and rear fires, drivers and aides must also be prepared to handle other types of emergencies, such as an immersion, a rollover, or if the bus is in a dangerous position.
To create a plan, first make a seating chart of your bus, indicating each exit and the assigned seat of each child on your route. Mark ambulatory children as “A,” children in wheelchairs as “WC,” and children in safety seats, vests or harnesses as “S.”
Determine whether children in wheelchairs should be evacuated in their wheelchair or taken out of their wheelchair (consult the occupational therapist, nurse or parent). Indicate “IN” or “OUT” on the seating chart.
Indicate which exits would be best for both emergency scenarios. Determine the quickest and most effective evacuation sequence for both scenarios and number students accordingly (1,2,3, etc.). Make sure to take into account potential “bottlenecks” at the emergency exit from children who take longer to get off the bus or wheelchairs partially blocking an exit.
Source: PTSI’s Special-Needs Transportation Trainee Workbook. For more information, visit www.ptsi.org.