The Responder – June 2014 “Special Edition – Tennessee’s TIM Training Facility”

Message from the TIM Network Liaison

History is Made – Congratulations Tennessee!
On May 7, I had the honor of attending the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new, dedicated, Traffic Incident Management training facility being constructed at the Training Academy for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The event was centered around the excitement of using shovels and machines to create a new way of keeping Tennessee highway emergency responders safe…but, from my perspective (1 of about 125 in the audience), the success was just as much about the journey to the groundbreaking as it was for what lies ahead. As I watched several dignitaries come to the podium one-by-one to express their excitement and gratitude, it was clear that the partnerships, the understanding, and the commitment to safety was the clear outcome of the process. The facility plan itself is impressive and, once in operation, will change the way emergency responders view highway safety training.

After the groundbreaking, as I walked around the crowd and eavesdropped on some conversations, there was a mixture of amazement and excitement with quotes like this one – “If Tennessee can do this, maybe we can do this in our state.” For some it was validation for the countless hours spent in conference rooms, on teleconferences, writing business case scenarios, and having hallway conversations about the importance of focusing on TIM.

Thanks to Tennessee, Colonel Trott, Commissioner Schroer, and the rest of the folks that made May 7 possible. Your leadership allows us all to feel very proud for you and just a little proud for ourselves. Enjoy all of the photos from the event here: All photos featured in this issue are courtesy of the TN Department of Safety & Homeland Security.

Please enjoy the remarks and links that are captured here. We’ve broken from our normal format and chosen to include the full body of all remarks in The Responder.

As always, please forward this message to as many emergency responders as possible.


Eric Rensel, TIM Network Liaison, Gannett Fleming, Inc.

Colonel Tracy Trott – Tennessee Highway Patrol
“I want to welcome all our visitors to Tennessee and the Training Center to witness this historic event where we break ground on the first totally dedicated TIM facility in the nation. This is a simple case of a small idea that has developed into a large success involving several state departments and the federal government coming together to accomplish a goal to promote safety for motorists and first responders.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Washington in 2011 to be exposed to the Federal DOT’s plan to train first responders in Traffic Incident Management. We volunteered to host one of the first train the trainer classes in the country. Paul Jodoin, Tim Lane and their group came to Nashville and we have developed a great relationship that has lead to Tennessee being a leader in traffic incident management. All Tennessee State Troopers have been trained in the four hour TIMs class and we are active participants with other disciplines in training all first responders in Tennessee.

I want to take a minute to talk about our relationship with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. This event would not be happening and this facility would not be built without them. Frank Horne has championed our idea along with Brad Freeze and many other staff members in TDOT. After the initial train the trainer class, three of us (Capt. Nicholson, LTC Stewart and myself) sat together and dreamed about having 300-400 feet of interstate highway built at the Training Center to train first responders in Tennessee. We really had no illusion of success but I had the plan printed and diagrammed and presented to our state group including Frank Horne.

Their first reaction was just as I expected when you ask people for several hundred thousand dollars in tight budget times. They liked the idea but we all wondered about the money. Then our hero stepped in in the form of Commissioner John Schroer. When I told him about our idea and plan and the fact that Tennessee could be the first state to have such a facility in the country, he had a simple response.

‘We’ll get that done. We’ll find the money!’

Since that moment, our project has taken off and grown from 300-400 feet to almost 2000 feet and almost a million dollars. All the enhancements to the project came from TDOT not the THP. We asked for a Volkswagon and they are building us a Cadillac. We are so very grateful to all of TDOT and especially Frank Horne and Commissioner Schroer. First responders in Tennessee will be forever indebted to your commitment to this project which will make Tennesseans and first responders safer on our highways when they encounter major traffic incidents.

In closing, I want to say that I am proud to work for an administration and Commissioners such as Bill Gibbons and John Schroer who care about people and the safety of first responders and motorists.”

Mr. Bill Gibbons – Tennessee Highway Patrol Commissioner
“Thank you all for being here. Colonel Trott has truly been the architect of this project from the very beginning. He understood the importance of a training facility such as this, not only for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, but for all emergency first responders. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the partnership of the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the leadership of Commissioner Schroer. Commissioner Schroer and I are committed to the safety and security of Tennessee roadways, and are pleased to say that this facility will improve our ability to clear major incidents as safely and as quickly as possible.

This will allow emergency first responders to obtain the training and first-hand experience to handle a variety of crash scenarios. We hope this proactive approach will help with response time at crash scenes and ensure safer highways for all Tennesseans. Again, thank you to Colonel Trott for his vision and to TDOT Commissioner Schroer for partnering with us on this important traffic safety effort.”

Commissioner Schroer – Tennessee Department of Transportation
“This training facility is part of an overall plan to make our roads more efficient, our responders more effective and our motorists safer as they travel through major highway incidents on Tennessee roadways. Effective Traffic Incident Management (TIM) is a major component of our Tennessee Strategic Highway Safety Plan. As such, federal safety funds are being used to provide this facility.

Nationally, the SHRP2 (Strategic Highway Research Program Initiative 2), places great emphasis on making our highways more RELIABLE and training for the response of highway incidents is a major part of this emphasis. In July 2012, Tennessee was pleased to host the first national Pilot training session for this important program. Since the beginning of this training effort in Tennessee, 37 states have initiated the training with over 40,000 responders trained, and, other states are getting on board.

In Tennessee, we have trained over 2,000 responders from law enforcement, fire and EMS service, transportation and the towing/recovery industry. By the end of this year all TDOT operations personnel who respond to highway incidents will receive the training. This multi-agency, inter-disciplinary training provides responders with skills and tools for safe, quick clearance when our highways are closed by crashes and spilled loads. The training will provide a safer work area for our responders and reduce congestion for our motorists.

Closed roads cause dangerous backups for traffic and lengthy traffic queues. These traffic queues are where secondary crashes are more likely to occur and many times the secondary crash can be much worse and deadly than the original incident. It is estimated that the possibility of secondary crashes increases 2.8% for every minute a road is closed and the traffic queue lengthens.

The completion and use of this training facility will strengthen the partnerships of all state and local response agencies for the benefit of our motorists and stakeholders. It will help us achieve our dream of a safe, reliable, and efficient transportation system in Tennessee.”

Jeffrey Lindley – Federal Highway Administration, Associate Administrator for the Office of Operations
“On May 7, I was pleased and honored to join leaders from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol for the groundbreaking ceremony for their unique traffic incident management training facility. This facility is an important milestone for Tennessee, for traffic incident management in the United States, and for the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), under which the first responder training that helped inspire the idea for the facility was developed. This training facility will help ensure that Tennessee first responders are prepared to resolve and clear traffic incidents in a safe and effective manner and keep both first responders and motorists safe. This is not the first time that Tennessee has demonstrated leadership in the implementation of SHRP2 products. Tennessee has also led the way in piloting the traffic incident management first responder training in 2012, in examining and retooling their organizational and business processes to more effectively focus on improving transportation operations, and in hosting the first pilot Regional Operations Forum in late 2013. My congratulations to the visionary leaders in Tennessee on what this new facility will mean for Tennessee, but also for what their leadership has meant for the rest of the country in addressing critical transportation and public safety issues.”

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