Pawhuska installs 2-way radios

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Thanks to a safety grant, Pawhuska school buses have been outfitted with two-way radios like this one. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

Parents of children and youth who ride Pawhuska Public Schools buses should now have a much easier time obtaining accurate, detailed information about where those buses are. This is thanks to a safety grant the school system recently received through the efforts of the Osage County Interlocal Cooperative in Hominy.

Dean Hix, director of transportation and maintenance for Pawhuska Public Schools, said the grant, which amounted to a little over $14,000, has made it possible for the school system to purchase two-way radios for all of its buses and base stations for all the district schools and the administration building. Maintenance and custodial personnel will have access to handheld radios, as will persons tasked with managing school activities, Hix said.

“That’s a big step for us. I’m excited,” Hix said. He handles the recruitment and training of school bus drivers and has frequently handled driving duties, himself. He said Pawhuska has bus routes in some very rural areas and the new radios and base stations will improve the ability of school officials to keep up with the location and condition of buses, as well as the speeds at which buses are being driven.

The new communication equipment includes a GPS function for school buses, so the school system and law enforcement will have real-time data available about buses if any incident were to occur, Hix said. Additionally, it will be possible to use the radio system to obtain National Weather Service data about weather conditions that could affect travel safety, he said.

Hix said Bartlesville Public Schools uses a similar system, and he said that all Pawhuska Public Schools buses will be outfitted with two-way radios from now on. He expressed thanks to OCIC for working to obtain the grant funds. It took about a year and a half to get the grant, he said.

“They did a good job getting this for us,” Hix said.