School Bus Evacuation



Normally, passengers are safer inside the bus. For a normal breakdown, the students should be kept inside the bus.

If the bus is located where there is a high risk of a collision, such as:


  • Near a blind curve
  • Just over the crest of a hill
  • On a railroad track
  •  OR

There is some danger that threatens the passengers, such as

  • Fire or something threatens the passengers, such as smoke in any part of the bus
  • Danger of being submerged in water
  • The bus has rolled or tipped over
  • The bus is in danger of rolling or tipping over

Evacuation Procedure

1.   Park the bus as close to the shoulder of the road as possible

  • Turn hazard lights on    
  • Set the parking brake
  • Turn the engine off

2.   Stand facing the rear of the bus

3.   Give the command: “Remain seated; prepare to evacuate.”

4.   Turn toward the front of the bus.

5.   Move backwards to the first occupied seat.

6.   Starting with either the left or the right seat:

  • Touch the shoulder of the person nearest to the aisle to indicate that the passengers in that seat are to move off.
  • Keep the passengers in the seat opposite in their seat by holding the hand palm out in a restraining gesture until the aisle is clear.
  • Move out the passengers in the opposite seat, using the same signal as above

7.   Move backwards down the aisle, repeating this procedure at each seat until the bus is empty.

8.   Check the bus from the very back seat to the front, making sure it is empty.

9.   Have evacuating students move to a safe distance (100ft) and keep them there as a group, away from any dangerous area.

10. Continue to check for students while removing the fire extinguisher or first aid kit, if needed.

11. Call or have someone call the fire department, the garage and the school, as necessary.  

A fire at the front of the bus may make the front entrance unusable and an alternate route of evacuation necessary. Normally, the front entrance will be available, but the emergency door can be used as the primary exit during an emergency.

Evacuation through both doors is fastest, with the rear monitor working forward seat by seat and the driver working backward seat by seat.

The windshield and rear windows can also be pushed out to facilitate evacuation. If the bus is on the side, use the roof hatches as well as the emergency doors on the up side to evacuate students.

Student reminders during an Emergency Evacuation

Listen to the driver's instructions for the correct exit.

Be calm, quiet and don't panic.

  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Exit seat by seat alternating rows.
  • Leave the bus quickly without pushing, or shouting.
  • Walk to a safe place and stay together.



P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website ( is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.