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  1. #1
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    Default School bus extrication

    We resently had a course on school bus exrication .I was surprised
    how well thay are built . There is reinforce channels everwhere .
    The sheet metel is heavy gage it puts strain on all the tools .
    We had hurst and holmatro .The hurst cutter was the new x-tractor
    Iam not sure what the holmatro cutter was but both hard a hard time to cut the A,B,C and L or the M what evre the last post was .the sheet
    metel was hard on the blads .The seats were closer together then I
    remember so to do any work we had to take out the seats . I didn't
    try a air Chisel they say that it works good .
    Does any one have any tricks on bus extrication .
    The fire Dept who hosted the course had a accident about four
    years ago . A 18 wheeler loaded hit a bus from behind at 90 kPH
    It drove it up the road and in the ditch on it's roof .The only major
    Damage was the back of the bus .It only drove the back of the bus in about 2 feet unbelievable .


  2. #2
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    Every few years we have a school bus drill and pull out all the extrication tools. We generally drill with a Hurst tool (spreaders, cutters, rams, etc), air chisel and recipricating saws. Every time we find the easiest and quickest method to gain entry is with the recip' saws.

    The Hurst Tool was both awkward to operate trying to cut through the numerous supports that run through out the bus. The air chisel was time consuming trying to effectively cut through the layers of skin and insulation.

    The recipricating saw was by far the most effective method to cut through everything from the numerous posts and reinforcing beams to the layers of skin. The one recomendation I have is use at least two saws (and lots of blades). Periodically rotate the saws so that while one is being used the other is getting a blade change.

    The easiest tool we found to remove the seats is a simple rachet set. Most of the time if your able to get power tools to cut the legs, you should be able to get in with a socket wrench.

    I'm sure there are other methods out there but these work the best for us.

  3. #3
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    I agree the recipricating saw works best.

    Buses or heavy trucks are a challenge, make the most of any time that you can get with one for drill.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    I have helped teach a couple of these, and currently working on the third one. The best part about a bus class is that you have lots of things to work on which gives you many opportunities to try all of your tools.

    One of the neatest tricks I have seen is using the air chisel to remove the side window frames. This works best when they are rivetted in. You run the chisel virtically up the left and side between the frame and the body of the bus. When you defeat the rivets, the window drops out in a unit. The only problem is that not all windows are rivetted. Some are welded in place, others are held in by several machine screws. You migth even have a combination of these all on the same bus! But considering the speed, it is worth trying this method first.

    As for cutting various posts. I am sure you have found the "A" post on a school bus to be a real challenge. Many a cutting tool has been broken attempting to cut these. I have mentioned on here before how the Phoenix SB Cutter was developed by Mike Brick primarily to defeat the "A" post on a school bus.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  5. #5
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    I like to have a couple panel cutter blades for the air chisel around.Makes short work out of putting doors in the roof.So many busses,so little time!T.C.

  6. #6
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    I have to agree with 101, when it comes to opening the top of a bus the air chisel is the way to go. recently attended a bus class that the instructor gave the first team enough rope to hang themselves then showed us how to make doors with the chisel and cutters, the time save was great

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Mark, thanks for posting this. We have a lot of school and tour buses run through our district, but in all the history of our station (almost 25 yrs) there have not been any MVA incidents involving buses. SO FAR.

    The replies to your post were extremely helpful, as specifically I would never have guessed how well built and reinforced the body components are.

    Thank you for creating this thread, it has been very informative and appreciated!
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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  8. #8
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    If you are cutting a seat out, be careful because contrary to what they told us at a recent school bus extrication drill, all of the seat supports are NOT hollow. A firefighter broke the cutting are on the cutters because the support closest to the wall is solid steel. A DEWALT sawzall finished the job. Any other suggestions.
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  9. #9
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    if you can shelter the Pt's from the sparks, a K-12 goes through the sides/top like a proverbial hot knife. Just have a can or trash line handy, since it can also light off the insulation, but if your in a hurry, it was a whole lot faster in drill practice than sawzalls (which also goes through blades fast) or hydraulic tools.

    for seats, we found "O" cutters, but not combi-tools, work well.
    I'm the Midnight Skulker, HAHAHAHAHA

  10. #10
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Thumbs down K12/Last resort

    K-12 would be at the BOTTOM of my list,not only because of the sparks,heat,and inherent fire danger but primarily because of the spinning disc.To open bus roofs few tools work as well as a QUALITY long barrel air chisel with a couple good panel cutter blades. Big Rig runs an EXCELLENT class on bus rescue and he can provide this at your location for a very reasonable cost if you can provide the materials(buses). Seat bars are merely tubing and can be severed in a myriad of ways.Over the years,I've found that your basic bus rescue works well with the "four door" approach.Use the windshiels area as 1,the rear door as two,and install two "doors" on the roof(if laying on it's side)so you are basically "quartering"the bus.Make the doors big enough to work long boards thru and tape/cover the raw edges so you don't injure people or tear up expensive equipment. T.C.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    I've been through a couple of good School Bus Extrication classes and the first thing you learn is these things are built like tanks.

    I'd use Air chisels & 'cip saws as my primary access tools.
    Also - a cordless drill/driver and some good bits make quick work of screwed / riveted on door hinges.

    Next - for seat frame removal - either unbolt or use the air chisel to break bolts. This leaves the *floor* free of things to snag on. Small pedal cutters or even O-cutters can be used if space permits, but they create snagging hazards in a space that's already hard to work in.

    One point to remember when removing seats - try not to break the wooden seat backs - they can be quickly stripped and used as backboards in a pinch.

    Also - if you have to get a Pt. out on a FBB - remember that the seat backs & bottoms are the widest part of the seat - it may be easier to drag the FBB along the Isle rather than having to lift it up between & over the seats.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 08-19-2004 at 10:37 AM.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
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  12. #12
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    Default Smooth Cutting

    If you want to see something impressive try Resqtek's new cutter. I think they call it the 210.

    It cuts through the school bus A post with very little effort and very little reaction.

    Used it in trainning and I LOVED it.

  13. #13
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    Default Experience/Trainng only tools needed

    My small town Indiana department has responded to 3 bus accidents in the last 5 years. One of the worst involved 2 school buses which were stopped at a railroad crossing when a loaded 18 wheeler dragging a tag trailer rear-ended them, at full speed (sleeping driver. Both buses on-side in the median. If you haven't worked a true "entrapment" in a school bus, it is difficult to be prepared. Many instructor's are teaching school bus rescue. However, the truth is no matter what the technique used to cut post or sheet metal, there are many and many will be needed.

    We found that the Two 4 X 4 holes in the roof that everyone practices is a waste of time, unless no other option is available.
    Take advantage of the Zippered front windshield to make a large quick opening, this will let the walking wounded out quickly. Also use the rear door to take them out.

    If there is true "entrapment", we found that there is no room to work inside the bus around the patient. Your tools are to long and can't be placed properly, you can't give patient care while working inside with the tools, not enough room for both.

    The next time we get a bus "entrapment" we will definately flap the roof to its side, we practice this several times a year and teach the procedure throughout the country. We are not saying it is always the best, because their is always another way, always. But, give it a try.
    "Training Today for a Better Tomorrow"

  14. #14
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    I have seen pictures of classes when the flap the roof of a bus, my question is do you use the hydraulic cutters on the front posts? I've always been taught to use a sawzall on the posts cause of the reinforcing that they have. One instructor even told about how the one class he did broke 2 cutting blades before giving up, and using the sawzall. Its a shame I still haven't gotten into a hands on bus ex class, all of the ones i have been in were classroom/tabletop classes.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    I don't know who is teaching 4x4 holes but when I do busses with limited manpower I put "doors"in the roof,meaning more like 6x8.Also utilizing the windshield an a "enlarged"rear door.This allows easier use of equipment inside.Flapping the roof sounds great but I haven't had to date the manpower(except training)to try it.We had been fortunate that all the bus accidents we've had around here have been bigger transportation problems that casualty problems.But we continue training for the event we hope never happens.T.C.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber dadman's Avatar
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    Question:
    Where are the usual spots for bus batteries?
    I've seen them in side compartments, and also in the engine area.
    Any buses with batteries in different locations?

    Seat removal:
    If fuel is spilled and vapors present, use hydraulic tools?
    No fuel danger, the recipricating saw seemed quick and easy.

    Hydraulic spreaders.
    For aisle side of seat, place between floor and seat frame. Pulls the support foot from the floor most of the time. Sometimes the seat leg would seperate from the foot.
    For wall side of seat, place next to wall between seat frame bottom and floor to pull wall side out.
    I wouldn't use this if someone was entrapped in the seat(s) as the seat is being lifted/twisted a few inches.
    More for making access.

    Someone trapped in a seat? Probally use hydraulic cutters to cut segments from the seat frame.
    Recip saw blade tip may contact patient.

    Make a big hole in the rear wall of the bus if situation deamands. In our class, we cut the rear wall at the top of the window posts, at one side, and the lower wall edge. Then a chain come-along was anchored at a side wall window post and the hook attached to rear wall. The come-along was ratcheted to pull the rear wall onto the bus side wall.
    Result was a big gaping hole with easy access.

    Instructor gave scenario of extrication/rescue crew going in through removed forward windshields, then exiting through rear with patients/stretches/boards. One way interior traffic flow.

    We also made cuts in the sides. Cut the window posts below roof line, followed post down the wall to the floor line, then pulled the wall down. With the side wall still attached to the floor, the wall made a ramp.
    The wall section cut out was two windows wide.
    Recip saw worked fine. Also tried it with chisel and hydraulic cutters.

    Front posts/A-posts and surrounding windshield area is solid. We used recips and cutters and it was slow going. It appeared the the posts there were doubled layer metal, post inside of a post. Don't know if all bus forward posts are like this.
    With the corner posts cut, and relief cuts made a few feet back, the hydraulic ram had a hard time lifting the forward roof area over the drivers seat/entry steps.

    I took some pictures of the class. Rotating photos to simulate rollover or on side showed that inside work would be more difficult standing on rounded roof or walls.

    Going through the bus portion of class, having my own children riding buses, and seeing kids racing to school in personal vehicles emphasized the need to be familiar with bus extrication and the need for proper working tools.

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