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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series



  1. Things to consider:
    1. What are the students' abilities?
      • Which students can come off the school bus by themselves?
      • Which students can be removed from the bus without their wheelchair (or specialized seat or child safety seat)?
      • Which students must not be removed from their wheelchair (or specialized seat or child safety seat)?
    2. Which students have essential equipment that also must be removed?
    3. What equipment do you need for an evacuation?
      • At a minimum, you need a belt cutter and a fire blanket.
    4. What personnel will be available to help you? Which students can help others get off the school bus?
    5. Where are emergency services along your route? (Fire stations, hospitals, police, clinics)
  2. Things to include in the written plan:
    1. A diagram of the seating pattern that identifies where each student sits.
    2. Information on how to evacuate each student.
    3. The location of emergency evacuation equipment and exits.
  1. Stay calm.
  2. Stop as soon as possible in a safe place: off the traveled roadway, preferably in a parking lot or driveway.
  3. Secure the vehicle.
    • Put the transmission in PARK.
    • Set the emergency brake.
    • Turn off the ignition.
  4. Take the keys.
  5. Contact dispatch. Report the emergency and ask for help (e.g., medical assistance, another vehicle).
  6. If appropriate, use warning devices to alert other motorists you are stopped.
  7. If you decide to evacuate:
    • Explain what you are doing using simple, concise directions. Use this approach with both the students and outside help if you need to enlist it.
    • Use all exits if possible.
    • Once students are off the school bus, move them to a safe place away from the school bus.
  1. Never lift anyone more than half your weight. Ask for help if you are unsure.
  2. Test your lifting ability with a small movement that can be stopped. If the student weighs too much, use another method.
  3. Process for lifting a student:
    1. Clear the path to the exit.
    2. Tell the student exactly what you are going to do before you do it.
    3. If necessary, cut the seat belt and other positioning straps.
    4. Stand balanced with your feet shoulder width apart. Face the student. Face in the direction you want to go, if possible.
    5. Get a good grip on the student or the student's clothing. Use your palms, not just your fingers.
    6. Squat down but keep your heels off the floor. Get as close to the student as you can.
    7. Lift gradually (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal, and buttock muscles. Keep the student as close to you as possible.
    8. Keep your chin tucked in so as to keep a relatively straight back and neck line.
    9. Lift straight up; avoid twisting at the waist while carrying the students.
    10. Take small steps. Keep the student close to your body.
    11. With students with poor muscle control:
      • Curl the student as much as possible.
      • Keep the student's arms and legs from flopping.
      • Support the student's head and neck.
  1. Follow general lifting guidelines.
  2. Pass the student's near arm over your shoulder.
  3. Place one of your arms behind the student's shoulders with your hand under the student's other arm.
  4. Place your other arm under the student's knees.
  5. Squat down, feet shoulder width apart.
  6. Lift the student with the load equally divided between both arms, holding the student close to you.
  1. Follow general lifting guidelines.
  2. Move the student in a wheelchair as close to the exit as possible. Slide the student on a seat next to the aisle.
  3. The taller person stands behind the student and the other person stands in front of the student and off to the side.
  4. If the student is in a wheelchair, the person in front should remove the armrests and fold up the footrests.
  5. The person in back reaches under the student's arms and either grasps right hand to student's right wrist and left hand to student's left wrist or clasps hands across the student's chest.
  6. The person in front lifts the lower extremities under the thighs and hips.
  7. Squat down and lift together on a count of 3.
  8. Move to the designated area and lower the student on the count of 3.
  1. Follow general lifting guidelines.
  2. Fold a blanket in half and place in on the floor next to the student.
  3. Lower the student's legs onto the blanket first, then the head. Place the student with his head toward the exit.
  4. Wrap the blanket around the student to prevent arms and legs from being caught on obstacles.
  5. Grasp the blanket near the student's head and drag the student to the exit.
  1. Practice lifts and the blanket drag.
  2. Practice operating the lift manually.
  3. Conduct regular evacuation drills with the students on the school grounds with school personnel observing. Some may be physically unable to fully participate in the drills but they should always be walked through the drill.

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