As our children go back to school and jump on that big yellow bus, excitement and anxiety runs through me as a parent. How safe are they aboard that big bus?
School bus fires – too rare or too frequent?
School buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road, as they are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries, but what about fires?
The discussion of school bus fires is often dismissed with the quick assumption that they are too rare to worry about. But a report published on November 2016 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal reported that fires in school buses occur more than daily for a combined average of over 550 each year.
Over the past month, bus fire reports have included:
- Hazel Green school bus catches fire-8/19/19
- Spartanburg County school bus driver safely gets all students off bus during fire- 9/4/2019
- 3 School buses catch fire in southeast Baltimore- 9/5/2019
- School bus catches fire at I-44 and Grand- 9/9/19
- Brake malfunction suspected in Special School District bus fire- 9/9/19
- 2 Missouri School buses catch fire, no One Injured- 9/12/19
- 53 children safely evacuated from East Ridge school bus fire- 9/12/19
What causes school bus fires?
In most cases, school bus fires start in the engine area, running gear, or wheel area of the vehicle. Studies report that the most frequent cause of ignition was failure of electrical equipment or an elevated heat source. For the incidents in which the area of origin is known, 68% of school bus fires originated in one of those areas. In a significant number of school bus fires, an electrical wire was cited as the first item to have been ignited.
Fire suppression systems?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has adopted a new recommendation to require fire suppression systems in all new school buses and to retrofit buses already in use.
Fire suppression systems can help to extinguish fire immediately by releasing a mist or powder to extinguish the fire, which: Provides extra time for students with disabilities to leave the bus Can extinguish fire for rear-engine buses, even before driver becomes aware of the incident
MIJA’s 2N1 Fire Suppression Switches
MIJA’s 2N1 Pressure Gauge and Pressure Switch in one can be commonly found on fire suppression systems for school buses, motor coaches, transit buses, and many applications where lives or valuable materials need to be protected.