Heavy rains nearly created a dangerous situation for 170 youth and chaperones at an after-hours weekend 4-H event sponsored by our client Iowa State University. If not for the quick-thinking staff who was able to access mud-friendly vans to facilitate evacuation across impassable roads, the participants from the weekend event near Madrid, Iowa would have been trapped at their camp site.
Due to the extreme rain, alternative transportation was needed to help the group to quickly get out of the area. The roads became inaccessible to the five buses that were there to take the group home.
Although the emergency situation occurred outside business hours, staff leveraged the Agile Fleet system in place at Iowa State’s Transportation Services department to reserve and access more mud-friendly vans for the safe evacuation across the worsening roads. By Sunday morning, a cargo van and passenger van had successfully ferried all 170 participants and their gear from the camp to the blacktop roads where the buses were waiting.
Here’s how the situation played out: staff onsite saw road conditions go from bad to worse. They noted, "Sunday, around 11 a.m. we were to have two CIT buses and three school buses pick up youth and take them back home. Unfortunately, we could see that once the buses were loaded with kids and cargo, they would not be able to maneuver the muddy roads and would be stuck."
"So, with many of us wondering what to do, it was suggested that if we had one more 15-passenger van and a cargo van we could shuttle groups of 30 with their bags out to the buses. The buses would remain safely on the black top near the Iowa Arboretum. The only concern was how we would get the two additional vans."
Since they had 24 x 7 access to the FleetCommander system, staff went on-line, reserved the needed vehicles from the the Iowa State University Transportation department, and picked up the keys and vans from the automated, self-service kiosk accessible to authorized university staff.
Staff reported back to Iowa State Transportation Department: “You saved us from not having stranded buses, youth, chaperones, and staff in the camp until who knows when.” The weekend event was a research-based 4-H activity that is part of the premiere youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences.