Eagle Scout Project Brings “Turn Around Don't Drown® TM ” to
Steuben County, New York
For his Eagle Scout community project, Michael Hitchcock,
a 16 year old from Campbell, New York, presented forty DOT approved “Turn
Around, Don't Drown TM ” incident signs to the Steuben County, NY, legislature
on February 25, 2008. He raised about $3000 dollars to get funds to
make the signs.
Michael worked with the Department of Public Works sign shop with two city
employees. These employees were gracious in donating their time and skills
in assisting the Boy Scout in making the signs. The effort was supported
by Boy Scout Troop 2042 in Campbell, NY, and led by scout master Scott Devine
and Michael Sprague, Director of the Steuben County Office of Emergency Services.
The signs are incident signs and will be used when roads are flooded in
the county. This is an especially important flood awareness project since
Steuben County has a long history of devastating floods. These signs no doubt
will save lives.
Michael A. Sprague, director of the Steuben County Office of Emergency Services,
said people don't realize how dangerous water on roads can be. "We've
had a number of incidents," he said, recalling one in 1996 when
a school bus got caught in overflow waters from Canisteo River. Reportedly, the driver was told to drive through the water by a dispatcher who didn't understand the danger. Drivers should obey federal road signs over conflicting information.
"The driver had gone one way on the road with no trouble," Sprague
recounted. "Then when she came back, she got caught. The water ended up
to the windshield. We had to rescue five people by getting them out of the hatch
in the roof."
Sprague believes Hitchcock's project to furnish the area with flood warning signs
is the first one like it in New York State . Sprague said he will be meeting with
county highway superintendents to determine the best places to put the signs.
The project involved more than just making some signs. Hitchcock also organized
fundraisers to support the cost of making the signs.
"That was the most fun," he said . "We set up
at rest areas." His Boy Scout troop would tell motorists about the dangers
of flood waters while offering them various items like hot dogs and baked goods.
He also made a few signs that are yellow and on metal panels to be permanently
placed in his hometown. The temporary signs are on canvas and can be stretched
across metal stands to display them as needed.
Michael Hitchcock, Eagle Scout Candidate, from
Campbell, NY (left), Michael Sprague, Director Steuben County Office of
Emergency Services (right).
For more information on “Turn Around, Don't Drown TM ” check
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