Flood Water Training Planned For TPS Bus Drivers

Friday, October 9th 2009, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- School bus drivers know their routes, but often heavy rainfall can turn an everyday trip into a tricky drive home. It doesn't happen very often, but parents would say once is too often: school buses driving through flooded roadways.

"Bus drivers are not your average patron," said Ottway Buckhalter, Tulsa Public Schools. "They have more training and they have a sense of more responsibility. We're talking about someone else's children on those buses so."

On Thursday, Tulsa received 2.8 inches of rain. Miami, Vinita and Nowata saw more than five inches. Rainfall in Okmulgee was more than six inches.

"There are more deaths due to flooding than any other natural disaster and over half of those are people trying to drive through water," said Bill Robison, OK Flood Plains.

With so much rain in such a short period of time, roadways become rivers.

In an effort to avoid a serious situation such as a bus stranded in the water, the Department of Public Safety partnered with the Oklahoma Flood Plains Managers Association to help bus drivers continue their education.

"There's a need for the bus drivers to know what to do when they experience a flooded road," said Robison.

The hour long DVD will soon be available to all local school districts to present to school bus drivers, to further educate them about flashfloods and keeping your children safe.

The standard rule is 6 inches of water can move a car or truck. And it only takes 2 and 1/2 feet of water to turn your child's school bus into a boat.

"The main thing that we are trying to stress is that when you see water flowing  across the road, there's no way of knowing what condition that road or how deep that water is," said Bill Robison of OK Flood Plains.

Safety advocates say the new DVD and renewed emphasis on flooding safety for bus drivers could be a life saving lesson.