During the five-year period of 1999-2003, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 2,210 bus or school bus fires per year. These fires caused an estimated annual average of three civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries, and $24.2 million in direct property damage per year. In 1999-2003, bus or school bus fires accounted for 1% of the total reported vehicle fires, 1% of the vehicle fire deaths, 2% of the vehicle fire injuries, and 2% of the vehicle fire property damage. On average, six bus or school bus fires were reported every day.  This analysis was  prepared for the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) Public Hearing on Motor coach Fires on August 8th and 9th, 2006 that was called in response to the September 2005 Texas motor coach fire that claimed 23 lives. The analysis has statistics on bus and school bus fires reported to local fire departments and includes information by: year, day of week, time of day, month, property use, cause, factor contributing to ignition, heat source, area of fire origin and item first ignited.

Elementary field trips teach kids about science, business, animals and more. Safety is important at all times. All school buses include a portable fire extinguisher to suppress a sudden fire.  The portable fire extinguisher should be a pressurized, potassium bicarbonate base dry chemical-type fire extinguisher.   The extinguisher should be mounted near the front of the bus and readily accessible to the driver.  Prior to leaving for a field trip, drivers and parents should locate the fire extinguisher and check the pressure gauge for efficacy.

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