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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series



  1. What you should know
    • Watch for flooding conditions any time there has been heavy rain or snow melt, even in places where water does not usually accumulate. If the ground is saturated, flooding may occur even if there is not heavy rain or significant snow melt.
    • Water can come from torrential rains somewhere else and cause flash floods. It may not even be raining where you are.
    • NEVER go through water on the road, whether it is standing or moving. Don't take risks. Even if you are familiar with the roads, don't drive through water on the roads. You can't see the danger. There may be debris, tree branches, power lines in the water. The roadway or bridges may have been washed away.
  2. What you should do

    Before you drive
    • Check the weather report, where you are and upstream. Listen for news reports of storms or a flash flood watch or warning.
    On your route
    • Stop.
    • Seek high ground.
    • Call Dispatch and request assistance.
  1. What you should know
    • Lightning can occur within a rain storm or when there is no rain. Lightning can strike miles from the storm.
    • The chances of lightning hitting a bus are slim. It is safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  2. What you should do

    Before you drive
    • Check the weather report, where you are and elsewhere. Listen for reports of storms.
    On your route
    • It is a good idea to stay off the radio.
    • Have everyone stay away from the sides of the bus.
    • Stay on the bus. Don't evacuate. The best place to be is inside a home or large building or inside an all-metal vehicle because these are grounded.
    • When unloading during lightning, get as close to the structure the student is going to as possible. This may mean driving through the subdivision and unloading at each home.
    • If you are in an area where the lightning is “bouncing” around, you might want to keep the students on the bus until the storm passes.
  1. What you should know
    • A tornado is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the ground and moving.
    • Tornados develop in warm, moist air in advance of an eastward moving cold front. The danger of a tornado is highest when the temperature is between 65 and 84 and the dew point is above 50.
    • Tornados often accompany severe thunderstorms.
    • Tornados occur in almost every state; mostly east of the Rockies.
    • Look out for a dark, often greenish sky, a wall cloud, large hail, and a loud roar.
    • Most tornados move southwest to northeast. However, in the upper Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states, tornados move northwest to southeast.
    • If the tornado doesn't appear to be moving, it may be coming toward you.
  2. What you should do

    Before you drive
    • Check the weather report for tornado watches or warnings.
    On your route
    • If you are in the bus and see a tornado, evacuate. DO NOT STAY IN THE BUS.
      • Your first choice is to evacuate to a building.
      • Your second choice is to a deep ditch. Lie flat on your stomach with hands over the back of your head to reduce neck injury.
      • As a last resort, go to the lowest place you can find.

        DO NOT go under a bridge or overpass. This area can become the equivalent of a wind tunnel. People under a bridge or overpass can be hit by flying debris or can be sucked out.
    • Move far enough away from the school bus that it can't topple on you.
  3. Identify evacuation options along your route. Plan for an evacuation ahead of time and practice with your students.
  1. What you should know
    • Earthquakes can happen in most parts of the country. California is the most well-known area but only five of the 10 worst earthquakes have happened in California. The others happened in Hawaii, Alaska, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
    • You won't know there is an earthquake until it is happening. You may feel shaking or see damage.
  2. What you should do
    • Stop in a safe place off the roadway, preferably in an open area. Definitely do not stop under a bridge, an overpass, or other structures.
    • Avoid downed power lines.
    • Assess the condition of the students. Find out if there are any injuries.
    • Calm the students.
    • Assess the superstructure around you and determine whether it's safe to continue. Don't drive into a devastated area.
    • Contact Dispatch if possible.
    • Move away from waterfront areas where seismic waves might strike.

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