Compiling a School Bus Emergency Kit

Compiling a School Bus Emergency Kit

Having emergency kits on board school buses is essential to making sure students and drivers are prepared in the event of an emergency. Being able to respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations can help to minimize any potential risks or damages, which is why having emergency kits on board school buses is so important. Each bus’s emergency kit should, at the very least, include items such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and emergency reflectors for breakdowns. While these emergency kit basics are required by law in many states, there are other optional items that may also be useful in certain emergency scenarios. Having all of these items readily available ensures that everyone onboard a school bus will be as safe as possible in any potential scenario. Continue on for a full list of items that transportation departments should pack into their school buses' emergency kits to be as prepared as they can be.

1. Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is an absolute must-have in emergency kits for school buses, and having one outfitted and properly working is actually legally required in most states. A fire extinguisher can help to put out a small fire quickly, or at least minimize the damage that it causes until emergency services arrive. To ensure the fire extinguisher will work if it is ever needed, it should be regularly serviced each year to make sure it's in good working condition. Be sure to always check the expiration dates as well.

2. First Aid Kit

First aid kits are also a legal on-board requirement for school buses in most states. These should always be stocked with supplies, such as bandages, antiseptics, antibiotic cream, and such, so that minor injuries can be tended to quickly. Be sure to check these over a few times per year to replace any used or expired items.

3. Emergency Reflectors

These are important for breakdowns or other emergency scenarios where a school bus may need to pull over or stop in an emergency. Having reflectors on school buses is also legally required in most states. Emergency reflectors help to make sure that the bus is visible to emergency services and other drivers while stopped on the side of the road. Be sure to check these occasionally as well.

4. Other Non-Required Basics

Beyond the three legally-required items in your emergency kits, some districts choose to keep additional items for emergencies. These include water bottles, non-perishable food items, flashlights, whistles, blankets, and a basic toolkit. Flashlights are especially important for school buses that travel at night or during periods of low visibility, in case of an outage. Food and water can also make a difference in breakdowns that could occur in rural areas where help may need awhile to arrive. Some districts may even choose to stock items such as whistles, radios, and compasses. These can be especially useful in rural communities with wide areas where cell signal doesn't reach. While most of these emergency items will never be used, it is helpful to have them just in case.

5. Seasonal Items

Finally, some districts may choose to keep some seasonal items in their emergency kits, with items specific to emergencies in both the summer and winter seasons. For instance, districts may choose to stash extra waters and portable fans in the summer and emergency blankets and warmer items in the winter. This is more prevalent in areas with more frigid winters or more sweltering summers.

With school districts being responsible for keeping school buses safe and emergency-ready, it is essential to make sure that there are emergency kits on board each school bus. Items for these kits should include legally required items such as a fire extinguisher, emergency reflectors, and a first aid kit, as well as optional extras such as extra tools, flashlights, blankets, and seasonal items. 

EZDistrict trip management software can help school districts to stay on top of their emergency kit management, with the ability to keep track of what items are on board their buses and to keep a log of restocking and maintenance of these items as well. In addition, in case of an emergency, EZDistrict provides tools for two-way real-time communication, helping dispatchers quickly find substitute buses and drivers. Our customizable seating chart and live student tracking can also provide the police with accurate information when it is needed. Reach out to any member of our sales team today to learn more about how EZDistrict can help your transportation department with all of its needs.