Heavy Vehicle BUS Rescue

CarolinaFireJournal - David Pease
David Pease
01/31/2017 -

Last issue we looked at the type “C” bus and now I want to briefly look at several of the other types of buses. Type “A” buses are built on standard truck or van style chassis, and most will be found on vans. The passenger unit is then mounted on the rear frame. 


These buses are designed to carry more than 10 people and can have a gross weight of 14,500 pounds. The driver’s door will be on the left side as it would on a standard vehicle. The batteries are found in the engine compartment most of the time, and would also have airbags just like a standard style van. The rear may have one or two doors and there may also be a side door.

Also remember that a lot of these type A buses carry handicapped passengers that may be in wheel chairs. They may also have other types of handicaps, so be prepared when approaching the scene of a crash with a type A bus. There are also a lot of church buses that use type A and B. The framework on a school type A bus can be as sturdy as the frame found on the conventional C bus. Type B buses are constructed much like the A bus, but you will usually find the front entrance door behind the front wheels. The type “B1” bus has a GVWR rating of 10,000 pounds or less while the “B2” bus is greater than 10,000 pounds.

Your inner city transit buses have less steel than their counterpart school buses. The windows are usually large for better view. The buses are constructed in similar fashion as the type C and D school buses, but lack all the steel framing. They are framed up from a custom chassis. They do not have the side rub rails like a school bus, and with the large windows, there is less steel to deal with. Some of the buses have forward facing seats, while others may have side-facing seats. As with all buses, they all lack seat belts.


Another big consideration with commercial transit buses is the alternate fuel they may be using. You need to be aware that these buses may be using LPG or CNG. The tanks would be located under the frame of the bus and would be labeled as to the fuel they are holding. Remember that LPG is 1.5 times heavier than air and expands 270 times its liquid volume when released.

The other big players in the transit bus systems are the hybrids. These buses are hybrid just like the standard cars we now deal with, utilizing the same type system. The one good indicator is they may be painted green, or they will have a distinctive raised roof that contains the batteries. You will treat these buses the same as you would if dealing with a hybrid vehicle.

Next issue we will look at dealing with the scene and extrication involving buses. I would like to take this time and thank everyone that reads my articles and follows my writing. I have been doing this for over 15 years now, and enjoy it when folks tell me that they have read some of my “stuff.” I would also like to wish everyone a happy New Year, and may the LORD keep you safe in all that you do. Until next time, train hard.

If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email at [email protected]. Until next time, train hard, be safe, and know your equipment.
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