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January 17, 2012  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

Heroes in school transportation 2012

In the second edition of this series, we highlight school bus drivers who saved lives with their quick thinking and vital skills. When danger arose, their training — and their instincts — came through.

by SBF Staff

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When he noticed smoke coming from under the hood of his bus, John Fothergill evacuated his passengers before the bus became engulfed in flames. Photo by Jaime Gallego.  
<p>When he noticed smoke coming from under the hood of his bus, John Fothergill evacuated his passengers before the bus became engulfed in flames.</p> <p><br /> <small>Photo by Jaime Gallego.</small></p> <p> </p>

Safe evacuation from burning bus

John Fothergill
Southeast Polk Community School District
Pleasant Hill, Io

Using emergency evacuation training from Southeast Polk Community School District, bus driver John Fothergill was able to successfully evacuate students before his bus burst into flames.

Last August, Fothergill was driving students ranging from grades 6 to 12 home after their first day of school when he suddenly saw smoke rising from underneath the hood of his bus.

Fothergill made a quick decision. He turned a corner, shut down the bus and put in motion the evacuation plan he had been trained to perform.

According to Dan Shultz, transportation director for the school district, “The evacuation was executed perfectly, and Fothergill took all things into consideration. He even managed to drive the bus out of the main traffic and into a residential area in that small time window so that students could go inside families’ garages for protection from a possible fire if need be.”

Minutes after the students had evacuated, the front of the bus went up in flames; an undetermined electrical failure had occurred. However, not a single person was injured, thanks to the training that Fothergill and the students received as a part of a semi-annual evacuation training program hosted by the school district.

“In our training sessions, everyone actually boards the bus, where we go over rules and perform a mock evacuation,” Shultz says. “It’s customized differently for each school, and we always reserve time afterwards so the kids can ask questions.”

In this case, Fothergill spearheaded a split evacuation where half of the students exited through the front door, while the other half used the emergency exit at the back of the bus. The trained students followed Fothergill’s orders and knew exactly what to do.

After exiting the bus, Fothergill and the students went into the garage of a nearby home for protection. About 10 minutes later, the entire bus was engulfed by the fire.

“Overall, Fothergill handled the situation absolutely excellently,” Shultz says. “He saw an issue, diagnosed it and saved everybody’s life. And he doesn’t take credit for being anybody really special; he just felt it was his duty.”


To read the first edition of "Heroes in School Transportation," which ran in our January 2011 issue, click here.

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Read more about: bus fires, first aid/CPR, First Student Inc., school bus crash, stop arm running/illegal passing

I am Noufal from INDIA , I am working in QATAR [gulf]as a heavy bus driver under QATAR GAS company in the british school. I have GCC licence, total 5 years experience in the bus driving then i have defence driving permit from QATAR GAS company . I looking a job in CANADA as a driver in the school bcoz i have expireance in the school. If there is any vacancy u may informe,please with big hopefully Noufal my email id :[email protected]

noufal    |    Jul 30, 2012 02:04 PM

They should make a movie, kool kid with a toy school bus n a hero driving one! Great stuff!!!!

Eduardo martinez    |    Jan 12, 2012 12:35 AM

i got to get him a superman t-shirt

julio    |    Jan 11, 2012 06:10 PM

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