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Every first responders nightmare ( Schoolbus)


dale560
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Ada Mn this morning bus and vehicle crash no kids seriously injured but pickup driver had serious injuries. For you volunteer firemen , ambulance and rescue personal this has to be the worst call to come over the radio. And the call would go immediately to surrounding towns and hospital for mutual aid or preparedness before any other information comes in I presume. The photo of volunteer fireman says a lot running with equipment to make sure you and your neighbors kids are okay.

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Couldn't agree more.  One of my cousins is a Viet Nam vet and serves as an EMT with a local volunteer fire department.  He's seen a lot of terrible things in his life.  The only calls that have haunted him are the ones involving children.  One in particular still gives him nightmares.

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As a first responder and former school bus driver I can certainly say that this is hard for those who respond to these types of incidents.

Many of us know someone who has been affected by such an incident.

 

On a side note I have long speculated as to why school bus drivers are notoriously underpaid for the amount of responsibility that they have.  Locally you can haul gravel and sand for double OR BETTER money with so much less responsibility.  So what if you get out and walk into a diner with a load of gravel on. But to leave a school bus unattended?  Not acceptable. Worse yet is when an incident occurs.

Children are our future.  We need to raise them.

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Just now, 1586 Jeff said:

As a first responder and former school bus driver I can certainly say that this is hard for those who respond to these types of incidents.

Many of us know someone who has been affected by such an incident.

 

On a side note I have long speculated as to why school bus drivers are notoriously underpaid for the amount of responsibility that they have.  Locally you can haul gravel and sand for double OR BETTER money with so much less responsibility.  So what if you get out and walk into a diner with a load of gravel on. But to leave a school bus unattended?  Not acceptable. Worse yet is when an incident occurs.

Children are our future.  We need to raise them.

I grand forks Nd the company that contracts busing couldn’t even operate this fall. Their supply of underpaid retired truck drivers dried up can’t find any cdl drivers 

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We have had 2 here in town , one the driver of the truck was killed, or more likely dead before he hit the bus, no skid marks , the other, the bus driver was our assistant chief (not at the time) great man and level headed, had a majorly washed out road that didn't look like it give way under the bus. Laid  it on its side with kids onboard. Everyone got out ok, could have been bad. 

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The most precious cargo out there at least until about age 15 then it depends on the day

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thank you lord for protecting everyone - thank you for all the helpers and volunteers that serve to help us all - we need good news like this thank you for sharing!!!!

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Ive actually been on a school bus that's wrecked. Not a fun ride. 

I was a freshman in High School. February 1999. We were on the way home from school. Bus driver came up to a intersection with state highway M-99. She started across, not seeing the 1/2 ton Dodge Ram pickup. 

Me and my best friend were sitting in the very back of the bus. Now me being a farm kid I obviously had been driving stuff for a bit by then. So I naturally out of habit kinda looked out the window when crossing. I was the only person on the bus who saw the truck. My buddy saw me tense up before the impact and saw my expression of "Oh F---" and wondered what was going on.  Then the truck hit right at the entry door.  Bus went into the Albion Township Town hall and fire station yard. Took out the phone Junction box, so no landlines in the area after that. Cell phones weren't everywhere like they are now. 

It is a volunteer fire department so no firefighters are there unless there is a call. Township supervisor was there doing paperwork but he wasn't emergency personnel so other than trying to phone 911 he couldn't help much. 

Bus did have a CB radio to bus dispatch though. The wreck had knocked the bus driver out cold.  My buddy and i knew about the radio and we went to the front. He got to the radio first and tried yelling into it. I knew more and told him he needed to push the button to open the mic. That's how we got help.

By the time the emergency personnel arrived the bus driver had come to. The pickup truck driver had a ruptured spleen and some other injuries I can't remember. Her son who was 8 or 10 years old was banged up pretty good too. Those 3 went to the hospital.  All us bus riders were fine. 

About the only thing I would have done now ( knowing what I do now) is someone should have put the bus in park or neutral ( automatic transmission) and set the parking brake by popping the air off. Wasn't thinking on the transmission part and I had no air brake experience at that point in my life. ( Have tons of it now) we were still running juice brakes in grain trucks at that time. 

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16 minutes ago, Reichow7120 said:

1Ive actually been on a school bus that's wrecked. Not a fun ride. 

I was a freshman in High School. We were on the way home from school. Bus driver came up to a intersection with state highway M-99. She started across, not seeing the 1/2 ton Dodge Ram 

When I was in jr high. 1982 . I had to stay home and help with harvest and watch my little brother while dumping trucks. Dad was short of help and mom was running a combine that day and her uncle driving trucks. I was 12 brother was 2. The other siblings were on bus and got in an accident that afternoon. Driver crossed hiway and got struck in the loading door by a car. Elderly neighbor was in tough shape and kids were okay. They fixed that 1600 loadstar bus back up put a whole side on. But I missed the accident because I had to work.

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 We had a bus semi accident last year. Its amazing how fast your work gets dropped and you can get to the firehall your mind starts imagining the worst . Luckily nobody was hurt but the hood and some of the front end was tore off the bus.   We were really lucky the semi driver  was able to do some good manuvering. (the bus did pull out in front of him from a side road) 

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I’m glad this accident wasn’t worse. We had a bus/dump truck accident a few years back. Dump truck was in a blind dip, bus driver had been through that intersection for 40 years without incident. At least 4-5 fire stations/first responders, literally every ambulance in 25 miles, and five choppers. Thankfully not all the choppers were needed. They typically wouldn’t send them out unless specifically called for, but an incident like that gets a full response! I think one kid was in the hospital for a week, probably four more spent at least a night. To my knowledge they all healed.

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Sat on the bus for all of my school years and often thought about the possibility when we were siting there with nothing else to do. In a rural community with all gravel roads and not a pile of traffic the risk did seem pretty low.  
 

Has been a few collisions over the years in the surrounding area though. Bad one about 4.5 years ago that some of you would’ve heard about I’m sure with the humboldt broncos hockey team.  16 people killed when a semi came through a stop sign. Miracle anyone survived really.  First responders had a rough night that night. 

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 As some of you know, my full time job is a Battalion Chief in a career city Fire Department. We had a different type of bus accident several years ago. One of our rear mount tower ladders was responding to a call and a school bus pulled out from a side street right in front of them. The bucket hit the bus right about window level and brought the bus up on 2 wheels to the point the wheels on the bus towards the point of impact went up high enough that there were tire tracks across the top of the windshield of the ladder truck. The bus never rolled as the bucket kept it upright. It spun the ladder off to the right side at a 45 degree angle. There were 8 kids on the bus and they, unlike the bus driver saw it coming and dove to the other side of the bus. No one got injured. Bus was totaled and ladder truck had around $300,000 in damage. Truck is still in service today. The Captain on that apparatus was never the same after that, and he was a gruff tough 30 year veteran. It scared him and he was a nervous wreck responding after that. The bus driver was cited for failure to yield. 

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39 minutes ago, sandhiller said:

I always wondered why there were no seat belts on school buses. 

Is it still that way?

 

Still that way to the best of my knowledge. Charter buses as well.  I’ve heard claims that they’re safer that way but when you hit a large object or roll it sure comes into question as to why there isn’t. Driver always has a seat belt but the other seats don’t. 

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35 minutes ago, sandhiller said:

I always wondered why there were no seat belts on school buses. 

Is it still that way?

 

No seat belts in Pennsylvania, the claim is that bus design with the new high-back seats and the fact that seats are up on top of the frame rails really makes them fairly safe in a crash and this seems to be true given crash statistics. A big problem with seat belts is making sure the kids use them.

The exception to no seat belts is in special needs kids, everybody gets belted in, especially wheelchair kids; they get 4 belts to the chair and one lap/shoulder belt on the child. I drove special needs for 3-1/2 years and I was a fanatic on making sure my wheelchair kids were properly secured.

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5 minutes ago, poor farmer/logger said:

Still that way to the best of my knowledge. Charter buses as well.  I’ve heard claims that they’re safer that way but when you hit a large object or roll it sure comes into question as to why there isn’t. Driver always has a seat belt but the other seats don’t. 

 

1 minute ago, Dave Downs said:

No seat belts in Pennsylvania, the claim is that bus design with the new high-back seats and the fact that seats are up on top of the frame rails really makes them fairly safe in a crash and this seems to be true given crash statistics. A big problem with seat belts is making sure the kids use them.

The exception to no seat belts is in special needs kids, everybody gets belted in, especially wheelchair kids; they get 4 belts to the chair and one lap/shoulder belt on the child. I drove special needs for 3-1/2 years and I was a fanatic on making sure my wheelchair kids were properly secured.

My simple mind just can not conceive how children would not be safer belted in. ( and less distraction to the driver )

When my three boys rode the yellow bus,(before coach buses for activities) I took the seat belt issue to the school board and even to the annual Farm Bureau mtg in Nebraska and was met with crickets. 

I sure hope cost is not a player but not sure I want to know the answer. 

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I know what you mean. I have been a Volunteer Firefighter for 43 years now and calls involving kids still give me nightmares. Just pulling up to a accident and seeing car seats in a vehicle gets the adrenaline going 

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The no belts defies logic and this was before the last 18 months

I must say though if a school bus driver’s job was stressful enough keeping 46 kids belted in might push you over the edge

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First responders tough times.  25-30 years ago, 1 accident tractor stuck, local kid hooks unto it with 8n ford chained to top link hole rotated over on top of him. Dad was 1st responder. they got him stopped before he got to it.  Other car accident 2 teenage sisters and boy friend in a car was hit their Dad 1st responder was 2nd to arrive, both girls DOA. a boy lived a week then passed. All 3 are buried side by side.

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6 hours ago, sandhiller said:

I always wondered why there were no seat belts on school buses. 

Is it still that way?

 

I remember seat belts getting retrofitted to school busses in the early 1980’s here in New York State.

But still to this day it is not mandatory for students to wear them.  It does truly defy logic and common sense.

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As a former transportation director for a school district let me give you some of the reasons for school buses not having seat belts. First if belts were required who is going to be responsible if a kid does not fasten the belt? The driver? They have their hands full as it is. You ever try to ride herd on 78 kids with your back to them at all times and moving down the road at 50 mph? How would the driver even know on say a 78 passenger bus if that back row of seats are buckled up or not. So that is issue one. Lets take this accident scenario; bus over turns and lands on its top. Now what are you going to do you have 78 kids hanging 7 foot in the air upside down. What sort of injuries are you going to have when they start dropping? Issue 3 that 78 passenger bus will become a 52 passenger bus if a shoulder/lap belt combination is installed or do we take a chance with just a lap belt and the possible spinal injuries that may occur if in an accident. Do you double your fleet to provide seat belts to haul the same number of students? I know it sounds like I am putting money before lives but before you jump to that conclusion look at these statistics. "According to the National Safety Council, the national school average accident rate for the school bus industry is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled, compared to 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles."  Those figures are with out seat belts I might add.

So why are buses safe without belts. First there is actually very little room to move around in those seats if legs are in out of the isle. If I recall correctly the minimum distance between seats is 28 inches and maximum is 32. Anyone over about 5'8" will have their legs in the seat back in front of them. The seats are very well padded and they have a very high seat back. First grade kids for the most part are not tall enough to see in the drivers mirror. Each seat is it's own little cubical and a very safe place to reside in even during an accident.

Other design features that make school buses safe. The floor level is quite high so most side impacts will actually be below floor level. The body of a bus is actually designed to detach from the frame is a sever impact. The roof is designed to support the weight of the bus without collapsing. Floor to ceiling bows at each window. That became an issue with one manufacture, that had poor quality control and poor welds in the roof bows. One of their units was in a roll over accident and the roof did collapse. Put them out of business and as I recall every state pulled them from their fleets. The body's are built of very heavy gauge metal and the panels are glued and riveted at each bow and then rub rails are added on top of that. It takes a lot to actually penetrate a body panel. The fuel tanks are inside a cage so darn near impossible it puncture them. And they are heavier than about 90 percent of the other traffic on the road. 

Not that I would want to be in an accident but if I was and I had the choice of vehicle to be in I would take a school bus every time. Your odds of walking away uninjured are quite high. So while logic would make us think since seats belts are pretty much required in everything else we ride in that it would also make sense for a school bus. However when it comes to school buses the accident statistics tell a different story.

So hopefully that gives everyone at least some ideas of the logic of school buses minus belts.

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9 minutes ago, IHC_1470 said:

As a former transportation director for a school district let me give you some of the reasons for school buses not having seat belts. First if belts were required who is going to be responsible if a kid does not fasten the belt? The driver? They have their hands full as it is. You ever try to ride herd on 78 kids with your back to them at all times and moving down the road at 50 mph? How would the driver even know on say a 78 passenger bus if that back row of seats are buckled up or not. So that is issue one. Lets take this accident scenario; bus over turns and lands on its top. Now what are you going to do you have 78 kids hanging 7 foot in the air upside down. What sort of injuries are you going to have when they start dropping? Issue 3 that 78 passenger bus will become a 52 passenger bus if a shoulder/lap belt combination is installed or do we take a chance with just a lap belt and the possible spinal injuries that may occur if in an accident. Do you double your fleet to provide seat belts to haul the same number of students? I know it sounds like I am putting money before lives but before you jump to that conclusion look at these statistics. "According to the National Safety Council, the national school average accident rate for the school bus industry is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled, compared to 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles."  Those figures are with out seat belts I might add.

So why are buses safe without belts. First there is actually very little room to move around in those seats if legs are in out of the isle. If I recall correctly the minimum distance between seats is 28 inches and maximum is 32. Anyone over about 5'8" will have their legs in the seat back in front of them. The seats are very well padded and they have a very high seat back. First grade kids for the most part are not tall enough to see in the drivers mirror. Each seat is it's own little cubical and a very safe place to reside in even during an accident.

Other design features that make school buses safe. The floor level is quite high so most side impacts will actually be below floor level. The body of a bus is actually designed to detach from the frame is a sever impact. The roof is designed to support the weight of the bus without collapsing. Floor to ceiling bows at each window. That became an issue with one manufacture, that had poor quality control and poor welds in the roof bows. One of their units was in a roll over accident and the roof did collapse. Put them out of business and as I recall every state pulled them from their fleets. The body's are built of very heavy gauge metal and the panels are glued and riveted at each bow and then rub rails are added on top of that. It takes a lot to actually penetrate a body panel. The fuel tanks are inside a cage so darn near impossible it puncture them. And they are heavier than about 90 percent of the other traffic on the road. 

Not that I would want to be in an accident but if I was and I had the choice of vehicle to be in I would take a school bus every time. Your odds of walking away uninjured are quite high. So while logic would make us think since seats belts are pretty much required in everything else we ride in that it would also make sense for a school bus. However when it comes to school buses the accident statistics tell a different story.

So hopefully that gives everyone at least some ideas of the logic of school buses minus belts.

Thank you very much for the very concise and complete explanation to my question.

I have asked many people that question when my boys were in school and was met with crickets.

I appreciate your response!

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