By Eraina Hooyer
The Rimbey Plant of Keyera Energy, a natural gas business, has presented a cheque for $17,500 to the Wolf Creek District School board to install strobe lights on all their buses.
On a very foggy April 9, 2008 morning a gravel truck collided into a Wolf Creek Public School bus claiming the life of Grade 12 student Jennifer Noble and seriously injuring Keenan Clark.
“Our community and one of our own were shaken by this accident and we are pleased to join Wolf Creek Public Schools in this important project,” said Morrish director of operations.
While Keenan, son of Keyera employee Darcy Clark, was recovering in an Edmonton hospital, Morrish was generating ideas from the staff on how Keyera could help.
It was Kathy Pfau’s suggestion to get strobe lights on the tops of all buses that was popularly accepted.
Larry Jacobs superintendent of schools for WCPS was pleased with the idea and believes that it will help improve school bus safety.
“It’s excellent,” said Jacobs. “It’s so nice to see companies in the community that are prepared to work with us in this. The newest buses have strobe lights and this donation will equip all our buses with a strobe light. The buses are big, they already have flashing lights, but this is a piece that may help bring them into view a little quicker.”
Although the new buses come with strobe lights the older buses met the Alberta Transportation standards and strobe lights were not required. Presently the standards are being reassessed.
“All buses come with a set standard of guidelines,” said Jacobs. “We follow what Alberta Transportation sets, everything we do has to have their approval, we can’t just retrofit without their permission.”
The strobe lights cost approximately $200 each and send a blast of light into the sky every few seconds, whether or not the bus is moving. The light reflects against water, fog and ice crystals and can be noticeable from a distance.
“Safety is number one all the time,” said Morrish. “We always extend safety to our homes and families. A lot of our employees’ kids ride the Wolf Creek buses but we’re not only looking after our own, safety is everyone’s business. It’s a true and worthwhile message to get out there.”