It is not uncommon for schools to have to charter a bus to transport students to and from sports competitions. Whether you are transporting a gaggle of cheerleaders to regionals or the speech and debate team to their next competition, it is important to make sure you are hiring the right bus, and that you can make the trip as safe as possible. Here are the safety features you should look for when you are chartering a bus to transport kids.
In order to be licensed to drive a bus, a driver must hold the CDL credential, which stands for commercial driver's license. The reason is because a bus is so much larger than the vehicles most people drive, and it takes a special skill set to make sure it does not become a liability. Not any old person from you school or organization can drive a bus, so any time you charter one it should come with a professional driver.
If you watch the news you are probably quite familiar with how handy security cameras become when any type of incident occurs on a bus. Accidents and injuries can be more accurately recorded than if you rely on eye witnesses alone, and making sure the kids know about the security system in place can help deter misbehavior. Video surveillance is a proven deterrent to misconduct and criminal activity. Though most studies focus on the effect video surveillance has on theft, it can be reasonably assumed that most youth will be less likely to engage in questionable activities if they know they are being filmed.
Every commercial bus comes with emergency exits, but the number and type of exits are important when you are getting ready to haul a bunch of kids around. Aside from the front and rear exits, the bus you charter should come equipped with at least three additional emergency hatches; one one each side of the bus and one on the roof. If you can find one with more than that it can only be a good thing.
Additionally, the type of emergency exit should be easily usable by the age range of the children you are shuttling. Lever openers, for example, are probably not appropriate for very small children unless they are accompanied by enough adults to position one near each emergency exit. You should also consider a brief training session with the kids to demonstrate hoe to operate the emergency exits, and nominate emergency leaders. This helps head off the need for additional staff.
It is incredibly rare for a fire to be ignited on board a commercial bus, but it does happen. Rather than risk the fire spreading, it is best to hire a bus equipped with at least two fire extinguishers, one in the front and one in the rear. Fire extinguishers are generally pretty easy to operate, but children almost always need to be shown how to work them before they are able to successfully put out fires. Use the following acronym:
- Take the extinguisher from its mount.
- Remove the immobilizing pin.
- Aim the spray at the base of the flame.
- Pull the trigger.
After you've ensured you're hiring a safe bus you can haggle about details of comfort and aesthetics. It doesn't take much to make sure you're keeping you wards safe, but it will make their parents feel better, and protect you from liability. If you take the time to make sure you're hiring the right charter bus service, your trip with your students or participants will be safe, fun, and enjoyable for all.