School Pipeline Safety Toolkit

1.2 Transportation Directors

Each year, nearly 500,000 school buses transport students more than 4.3 billion miles. Many of these bus routes parallel the 2.3 million miles of underground natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines that crisscross the United States. It is important that bus drivers are aware of the signs and hazards of a potential pipeline problem and know how to appropriately respond whether they encounter a pipeline leak along their daily routes or get called upon to evacuate students during a school pipeline emergency. Transportation Directors should ensure that pipeline emergency procedures are included in the district multi-hazard emergency operations plan and that all personnel, especially drivers, have received training on appropriate response procedures. These procedures should include the following guidelines.

Bus Driver Guidelines

In the event of a pipeline leak near a school facility, bus drivers may be called upon to evacuate students from the leak area. It is crucial to proactively locate pipeline right-of-ways on bus routes to help drivers recognize signs of a pipeline problem.

If you are on a bus route and suspect a pipeline problem:

  • Refrain from driving in a suspected leak area.
  • If in a suspected leak area, leave the engine “as is”, unload the bus, and leave the area immediately, moving by foot in an upwind and uphill direction if possible.
  • Avoid use of anything that could create a spark, including mobile phones/devices and hand-held radios, until you are a safe distance from the hazards.

If you have been called in to evacuate a school due to a potential pipeline emergency:

  • First, ensure that it is safe to bring a vehicle into the area by communicating with the first responders and pipeline operators involved. A bus can be an ignition source, like any other vehicle, for flammable vapors that may be in the atmosphere.
  • Take a route that is in the opposite direction of the pipeline, upwind if possible, and avoid roads that parallel or intersect with the pipeline. Sometimes there can be more than one leak on a pipeline.
  • Arrive at a destination that is a safe distance from the impact zone of the pipeline release. Once at a safe location, call for medical assistance if needed.

Bus Driver Awareness & Training Resources

The Smalley Foundation provides resources to train bus drivers how to recognize the signs of a potential pipeline problem and appropriately respond either at a school or along a bus route.

Pipeline Safety Information for School Bus Drivers

Additional Training and Information

To coordinate a free Pipeline Safety for Texas School Bus Drivers session at your school, district or region click the link below:

For additional information and/or questions contact the Smalley Foundation by email at: