STN EXPO: School Bus Fire Investigations Key to Prevention

A controlled school bus burn in Davison, Michigan for local firefighter training. YouTube/Paul Luttenbacher A controlled school bus burn in Davison, Michigan for local firefighter training.

While no two incidents are the same, understanding the causes of each individual school bus fire holds the key to future prevention, as STN EXPO attendees will learn this summer.

norm dubeNorm DubeAmid a rash of school bus fires over the past month, nationally certified fire investigator Norm Dube told STN that student transporters should familiarize themselves with proper cause and origin investigations to understand how to avoid future events. Dube is presenting “School Bus Thermal Events, Investigation & Prevention” on July 8 in Reno, Nevada. He will also be a panelist during a July 10 discussion on fire suppression systems for school buses.

"Prevention comes from the knowledge learned from each thermal event. An engine fire is way too vague to have a good understanding for the incident cause," said Dube, who holds certifications in fire and explosion investigations as well as vehicle fire investigations from the National Association of Fire Investigators. “Once defined, you can hone in on preventing reoccurrences. You would be surprised what you find when exemplar units are inspected to confirm the investigator's findings.”

Dube started N&D Services, LLC last June followed by 24 years with First Student and FirstGroup as quality assurance manager and national technical manager. Before that, he spent over 12 years at Ryder System, Inc. as a service manager.

At the STN EXPO, he will draw upon real-life data to review the typical causes of school bus fires and how student transporters can prevent them. Dube will also discuss the importance of reviewing maintenance records, vehicle condition reports and manufacturer recalls as well as interviewing bus drivers and even student passengers.

“There are too many variables that need to be taken into account. An investigation based on the evidence collected from the vehicle, will allow the investigator to form a hypothesis as to the cause and origin based on NFPA 921,” he said. “Inspection of exemplar vehicles will most likely confirm the findings and allow corrective measures to applied to the balance of the fleet.” 

Last modified onThursday, 08 June 2017 15:28