You know its school season here in the US and a lot of kids going back to school and I found our first school bus accident. There may have been another one before this but this is the first one that cropped up on my radar. In Texas, a school bus went into a ditch with 54 students on board. Now, why do I bring this up? Well, I talk about this all the time, wherever you live, whatever you’re doing, as seasons change, you have different expectations to the type of class and the number of calls you might be running in different styles and types.

So, why do I bring up school buses? Because you might have school bus accidents! And you should be prepared; you should review your protocols. What do you have to do when you have a school bus full of children here nobody’s really injured but how do you handle releasing all of those patients without a parent there to release them? Do you treat them as no patient so there were no injuries, there are no patients, nobody needs to be seen, no paperwork needs to be done? Do you need to get all their names? You need to review these protocols and standards for your organization now so that when you have that school bus accident, you don’t make a mistake, you don’t violate protocol, you don’t screw up your documentation and you’ll just-a little bit of planning ahead of timeĀ  goes a long way.

Now in this particular story, one child was taken to hospital following this accident, the rest of the students seem to be doing alright. The bus had 54 students on board and they reached an intersection, the roadway was flooded and the bus went into a ditch. So again, be aware of school buses on the road, be aware of how your system is going to handle and incident involving a school bus- I’ve been to a lot of school bus accidents, thankfully not very many of them and that resulted in too many injuries to the people on the school bus, I mean that’s a big bus so it takes a lot of force and energy to cause that bus enough damage to impinge on passengers themselves. Usually bumps and bruises and maybe a bloody nose but you should be prepared and understand how to deal with that and of course it’s a mass casualty incident, if you have to many patients to review and triage very quickly so you need to make sure you got resources coming and then to everybody’s on the same page. I thought I’d point out this article when it cropped up and we should really be paying attention to these types of things and how we would handle this type of situation.


This article has been featured in the news segment of the MedicCast podcast episode Minor Traumatic Brain Injury EMT Paramedic Review and Episode 236

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One Response to Application of EMS Protocols to School Bus Accidents

  1. Justin says:

    What I always think about is the first step – prevention. They aren’t accidents, they are collisions. We can do a better job at pre-hire screening of drivers, intial & on-going driver training, and oversight. With all that said, typically injuries from these crashes are not severe as you said, mostly bumps and bruises. If all patients are under age, do you wait for all parents to show up and sign the waiver? We were able to have a school administrator sign off on behalf of the parents and parents were notified at the school. Not sure what other states allow.

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