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New fire safety system possibly coming to Kanawha County Schools

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 4:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Tuesday morning, transportation officials watched a fire suppression system demonstration in Kanawha County that could be beneficial in school bus fires.

The demonstration was put on by Fire Gator, a company based in South Carolina. The system is known to company officials as a “halo.” It goes over the engine and releases aerosol vapor when the engine gets hotter than 280 degrees.

The vapor is designed to stop the fire from progressing and slowly extinguish it. Kanawha County transportation officials say these systems are vital for evacuation purposes. It is mainly used on school buses.

“A bus can become fully involved within two minutes after the fire starts. That doesn’t leave a lot of time, especially if you have upwards of 60 to 64 students on the bus,” said Wade Carnell, supervisor of transportation in the Sissonville area for Kanawha County Schools. “Not to mention the effect that panic will interfere with.”

Fire suppression systems are already installed in every bus in Kanawha County. However, officials say they will take the system for a test run and move on from there.

“It’s my understanding (that) we’re always looking for advancements, if you will, and this is just another tool in our arsenal that we may be able to use going forward,” Wade said.

For now, other transportation officials will be emphasizing practice and preparedness when it comes to evacuating buses.

“We still have to do our fire emergency drills, and they’re very important,” said Peggy Stone, a transportation supervisor for the Sissonville area. “Kids need to know what to do; they don’t need to panic”.

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