Ian G. Lang logo

The overhead hatches are typically only checked as to whether they pop open and closed to the locked positions, due to training methods in various companies.  At the past three companies I've worked for, they only use them as a peekaboo to see whether the strobe light on the top of the bus is working correctly.

What's supposed to happen, since they're actually full-on emergency exits, is that they require signage, open 90 degrees and have an alarm sound.

The reasons I've heard for them not being tested are:

  • If you open them all the way, they fall out of the bus (from a Training Supervisor with something like 10+ years experience.)
  • It's too difficult for the drivers to do. (from a Trainer with a few years experience.)
  • I was never taught how to open them (several drivers.)
  • I'm too short (several drivers.)

It's tricky, sure, but it's part and parcel of checking EVERY emergency exit as part of your pre-trip. 

First, here's how to use it in an emergency.

Next, Here's how to Check it.
Both mechanics at the companies and the provincial regulatory body have confirmed, even across the companies over the span of 3 years that I've trained, The full check as below is required for the rules and regulations.

1.  check for all the signage indicating the emergency exit and that it's intact and clearly visible.
2.  push the hatch (requires approximately 40lbs of force to open) all the way so it's fully lifted on both sides.
3.  turn the red knob to the release position, and depress it into the hatch, where the hatch will release from one set of the hinges holding it up.
4.  at this point, the alarm shouild be sounding.
5.  swing the hatch all the way up to ensure it opens at least 90 degrees.
6.  bring the hatch down carefully, and make sure the hatch tabs mesh correctly.  this is the difficult part and will take some practice.
7.  once the tabs are aligned correctly, reach through and squeeze the hatch gently into the hinge assembly.  If it doesn't feel right, where it's too tight, or the alarm doesn't go off, it's not meshed correctly.  You'll know.

This video shows a simiilar style of hatch to the ones we use at the company I'm with currently.
-- In the video, he 'shakes' the hatch to get it to mesh.  I've never had luck that way.