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The Safety Equipment Essentials to Have Stored On Passenger Vehicles

If there’s one thing that’s continuously reinforced throughout PCV training and a PCV driver’s career, it’s safety. No matter if you’re behind the wheel of a bus, a minibus or a coach, carrying the right safety equipment is vital in case an emergency situation should arise.

In this article, we look at the safety equipment that every professional bus or coach driver should have in their vehicle. We’ll be covering every item that needs to be on board, as well as covering the wisdom behind having each one in place.

Item #1 – A First Aid Kit

When putting together your vehicle’s PCV safety equipment gear, a first-aid kit is a must. You never know when you might have to administer first aid for one of your passengers, which means having at least the basics needed to deal with minor injuries. The minimum your bus’s first aid should include is the following:

  • Sterile Adhesive Bandages – For covering small cuts or abrasions.
  • Sterile Gauze Pads and Rolls – To dress larger wounds or to stop bleeding.
  • Adhesive Tape/Safety Pins – To secure bandages or dressings in place.
  • Scissors – For cutting tape, clothing, or bandages.
  • Tweezers – To remove debris such as glass or splinters from wounds.
  • Disposable Sterile Gloves – To protect the first aider & the injured from infections.
  • Antiseptic Wipes or Solution – For cleaning wounds.
  • Cleansing Wipes – To clean the hands of the first aider, if water is not available.
  • Burn Dressing or Gel – For initial treatment of burns.
  • Eye Wash and Eye Pads – To flush out foreign objects from the eyes.
  • Triangular Bandages – For creating slings, supporting limbs, or as additional dressing.
  • CPR Face Shield or Mask – To safely perform CPR.
  • Instant Cold Pack – For reducing swelling or numbing pain.

As you’ll learn during your PCV training, you’ll administer first aid only until the rescue services arrive and take over. So, the equipment above represents the essentials.

Item #2 – A Fire Extinguisher

When you have a fire extinguisher onboard your bus or coach, it can be a literal lifesaver should a fire break out either on the bus or in the engine compartment. Generally speaking, an ABC powder extinguisher will be capable of dealing with most fires that involve flammable liquids and electrical equipment. Also, be sure that you know how to operate it should the need arise.

Item #3 – Seat Belt Cutter

Should you encounter a road traffic accident (RTA) when driving a bus, people can possibly become trapped in their seats by their seatbelts. In these situations, seconds count, and a seat belt cutter tool can give you the ability to release stuck passengers quickly. This tool should also be accessible from the driver’s seat.

Item #4 – Safety Hammer

Similar to the seat belt cutter, a safety hammer can be used to break windows in emergencies. Some passenger vehicles are fitted with toughened glass windows, and in the event of the bus doors being jammed shut, hammers like these offer a welcome escape route.

Item #5 – High-Visibility Vests

A breakdown or emergency situation can happen at any time when working as a bus or coach driver, so it could occur during poor visibility or at night. If you need to evacuate the vehicle, you need to have sufficient high-visibility vests available on your bus for yourself and all your passengers.

Item #6 – Warning Triangles

Another piece of kit you’ll get to see during your PCV training is a set of warning triangles. Should you break down or have an accident, having two reflective triangles on board will allow you to provide ample warning to approaching vehicles in order to prevent further collisions and injuries from happening.

Item #7 – Flashlight & Extra Batteries

Most smartphones are equipped with a torch these days, but there’s still no substitute for a high-quality flashlight. Having one stored on your vehicle, as well as a spare set of batteries, is an essential part of a PCV safety kit and can be particularly useful when you break down in a poorly lit area.

Item #8 – Emergency Contact Numbers

While this is not strictly equipment, having a list of emergency contact numbers is non-negotiable. That means having the relevant roadside assistance numbers, emergency contact numbers and your head office/depot number. This is also something that should be kept in an easily accessible place.

Ensuring Safety By Having All the Right Equipment With You

The only items we might add to this list of on-board essentials are blankets, water and non-perishable snacks, especially if you’re out on a long-distance coach trip in cold weather. Ultimately, safety should never be compromised, and it won’t be if you’re fully prepared for any situation with all the necessary safety equipment we’ve covered here.

It also goes without saying that you should check the presence and condition of all the equipment described above. Do so, and both drivers and transport managers get the peace of mind of knowing that they’re covered for all eventualities.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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