The Responder October 2015

Message from the TIM Network Liaison

This month’s guest author is Rusty James, Incident and Emergency Management Specialist.

It occurred to me that we are rapidly approaching the holiday season.  These are times to be with family and friends, to reminisce about the past, and to create new memories. It is also a time to reflect on life and maybe change some of the things that we do, especially when it comes to safety.  Some of the things that we do in life, including our work, becomes so repetitive and “normal” that we can become complacent and lose track of the need to focus on safety.  Of course, training is the key to staying on top of our game and being as safe as we can in what we know is an inherently unsafe environment.  We should all be lifelong learners;  when we stop learning, things start going downhill.

In working with the responder community I have found this to be an incredibly professional group that strives to be the best at what they do.  However, we continue to struggle to cross train, or provide multi-discipline training for responders.  To be the best we can be, and to insure the safety of our personnel, we must learn  about what the others who respond to incident scenes on the highways do, what they need, and how to help them.  This helps to minimize the exposure of our personnel and equipment to the dangers of traffic.  There is so much discipline-specific required training for everyone who responds to incidents on the highways.

The need to train our personnel in the dangers of traffic, and the essentials of Traffic Incident Management must compete with all of this required training.  It is difficult to squeeze minutes into the training schedule, must less hours.  There is training in police and fire academies across the country where “traffic” training is already conducted.  However, some of this training has not changed much over the years.  While the training has not changed much, the amount of traffic and society has changed considerably over the years.  Responders will, without a doubt, be working in traffic daily in this country.  Whether they are responding to a crash or crime, involved in life safety, working to maintain the reliability of our transportation system, towing damaged or disabled vehicles, or involved in other activities that keep traffic flowing, they are exposed to the danger of traffic at an alarming rate.  We must find time to squeeze in the Traffic Incident Management   for our responders.  We must work to train together so that we learn what those who are responding with us need at incidents on the highway.  Again, we must be lifelong learners.

The complaints or issues that occur between responders at the scene of incidents on the highways are much the same today as they were last week, last year or 20 years ago.   It comes down to a lack of understanding about how and why others at an incident scene do what they do.  At a meeting several years ago, a question was asked of law enforcement officers.  They were asked, “What is it that the fire department does at an incident scene that bothers you”?  The response was overwhelmingly that they park their equipment to block the roadway.  The officers were then asked if they had ever inquired of fire personnel why they park the trucks like they do.  The answer was “no”.  Fire department personnel at the meeting then explained the training that they receive and the reasons for blocking the roadway with the fire trucks.  They park the equipment like they do to protect their personnel and the other responders.  One Fire Chief then explained that they would need at least 10 feet to package a patient at an incident on the highway.  This was a little more information that other responders need so that they can assist and work together to get the highways back open.

When fire personnel at the meeting were asked what law enforcement does at the scene of an incident on the highways that bothers them, their response was that they are always telling them to move their equipment. If you pay attention to the media, especially during bad weather, you don’t have to look far to find a story about law enforcement threatening to arrest fire personnel at a scene, or worse yet, actually arresting them.  We have to talk to each other, before an incident, to learn what we can do to work with other responders and reduce our exposure to traffic.

Traffic Incident Management has a number of definitions.  Reduced to the simplest form, Traffic Incident Management is just having a plan.  More importantly, everyone must know what the plan is before arriving at the scene of an incident.  Knowing and understanding the plan reduces chances of anyone being struck, injured, or worse.

FHWA has been working to get the National Traffic Incident Management for Responders training course adopted by law enforcement, fire, EMS, DOT, and towing for several years.  This training is the best training course for responders that has been developed to this point.  Tennessee is working with the National Operations Center of Excellence to develop additional training to supplement the course developed by FHWA.  This will be a course that builds upon the information presented in the National Traffic Incident Management for Responders course, and will include hands-on activity to further instill the need and practices of TIM in responders.

According to FHWA, 136,798 responders have received the SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responders training as of October 18, 2015.  Of this number, 1,835 have taken advantage of the web based training that is now available.  The number of responders taking the web based training has increased dramatically in the last couple of months.  While the in-person, hands-on training is always going to be the best, the web based training is available for those who are not able to receive the in-person training immediately, and it provides a good base for responders.  I applaud those trainers who continue to provide the responder training classes across the country.  We must continue to promote and provide the best training that is available for our personnel; we owe it to them and their families.

I want to thank you for being a member of the TIM Network.  As responders, we have to rely on the knowledge and experience of others when do our jobs.  In the 30 years that I was in Law Enforcement and the 7 years that I worked with responders while Incident Management Coordinator for KC Scout, I relied heavily on the expertise of others.

The TIM Network was founded several years ago to provide information and resources to responders across the country and around the world.  The Responder newsletter that is sent out each month provides the latest information available for responders so that we can keep our personnel safe.

Over the years, the database for the TIM Network has undergone some updates and changes.  Many of those who became members have left for other endeavors in life.  I am in the process of updating the database so that we can provide this valuable information and resources to the members.

If you wouldn’t mind, could you send me an E-mail with the following information so that I can update the database?  This information will only be used to update the files.  We want to make sure that the files reflect the correct information.


Agency, Organization or Company

Discipline – Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, Towing and Recovery, Transportation

(DOT, Public Works, etc.), Other (consultant, MPO, etc.)


City, State, Zip

            Preferred E-mail Address


Country if outside the United States.

In closing, remember the importance of the holiday season to your family.  Work hard and train together to improve the safety of responders and motorists, minimize the effect that the incidents we respond to have on traffic, and be a lifelong learner.


Rusty James

Incident and Emergency Management Specialist

Additional Materials

TIM Training Status Report – 101815

TIM Training Status Maps – 101815

TIM Training Status Report – 110215

TIM Training Status Maps – 110215

View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

  Keep it Simple  (KISS) method for Traffic Incident Management.

1 – Quickly locate the incident

2-  USE Advance Warning

3-  Wear your PPE – vest

4-   Clear the scene ASAP

5-  After Action Review

2015 Killed in the Line of Duty

Police Officers  101
Firefighters        70
EMS                    05   National EMS
Towers               21

Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

Be Prepared and Safe as We Enter the Season of Holiday Travel

FHWA National TIM Program Update,

Part I:  TIM Responder Safety Course Proliferation

By: Kimberly C. Vásconez (


Good day, TIM Network


It has been a while since I reached out and shared what we have been doing at the National program.  I will spend more time in the December issue, but I just want to share some updates and ask for your thoughts on a couple of topics.

SHRP2 TIM Responder Training Course – March to 1 Million with 20% Target Trainees in Each State Trained by the end of 2016

FHWA continues to support Train-the-Trainer and Classroom sessions across the nation.  As of November 1, 2015, FHWA reports that almost 137,000 received training to serve as instructors or the 4-hour classroom or web-based delivery.  While we are making significant inroads in training law enforcement and fire/rescue professionals, we continue to worry about the fact that fire-based and private-sector emergency medical personnel and medical examiners, towers, safety service patrols (SSPs) and public works/transportation maintenance practitioners are not making it to the training. 

Figure 1

NEED YOUR OPINION:  If you have noticed this occurring in your area or if you are a member of the “left behind” group, please share with me your thoughts on (1) why this may be occurring and (2) what can be done to encourage these important members of these critical groups to attend the classroom session (our preference) or take the online, web-based training?  We are particularly concerned because as we go around the Nation and speak with the various discipline practitioners, we are finding that the struck bys and Line of Duty Deaths continue unabated in these areas, yet they are the groups that are not in the training.  A large part of the training addresses best practices in safeguarding the scene and personnel working within the TIM area.  However, in talking with towers, public works and safety service patrols, generically there is a concern that law enforcement and fire are leaving and taking the protection away from those that must perform their jobs at the tail end—the clean-up portion of a response.  This is why we strongly advise SHRP2 TIM Trainers make the classrooms as multi-disciplinary as possible and to insert the interests of these groups into the tabletop scenario, even if there are no participants from these disciplines…Add the “hats”, as I-95CC’s and former member of the Virginia State Police–Tom Martin –would say.

Figure 2

The Web-based Course, launched one year ago, continues to become more popular every month.  We hope to offer a second type of course that will blend the benefits of web training that reaches those in smaller cities, rural and remote areas and classroom interactions that offer multi-disciplinary perspectives.  In mid-2016, we anticipate piloting a virtual classroom that uses commonly available software, such as adobe connect, and reinserts the tabletop exercise that has been so valuable to the classroom participants.  The course will be based on the web-based curriculum, but tailored for 1 to 1.5 hour segments spread across a week or so with one session dedicated to swapping “hats.”

Institutionalizing the TIM Responder Course into the National TIM Program:  FHWA is developing its final revision to the SHRP2 TIM Responder Course deployment plan since the SHRP2 effort will close in calendar year 2017.  We will be working with National Associations that influence discipline training and accreditation to consider how to keep the momentum going in our March Toward 1 Million trained.  We will also bring together several individuals at the National Fire Academy from January 15 to 17, 2016, to  discuss ways to strengthen organizational partnerships, identify opportunities for improved performance and identify barriers that need to be eliminated.  FHWA expects to capture best practices in delivering the training, exploring ways to implement TIM training with State and local governments overseeing the implementation, and acquiring buy-in by governmental and association groups who will be responsible for ensuring that the TIM training is institutionalized within their TIM program.  The findings will be documented in the last issue of the FHWA L32A-C TIM Responder Course National Implementation Plan.

In addition to this, work continues with various public safety academies and organizations to integrate the TIM Responder Course in their curriculum:  FHWA continues to work with Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association (CVVFA)/Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI)/Responder Safety Learning Network (RSLN), IADLEST, NAFTD, PROBOARD, IFSTA, EMS, APWA, IMSA, various Fire/LE Academies and tech colleges.  The team obtained agreements from the following institutions to include the training as an offering in their academies:  District of Columbia Fire Academy; Pennsylvania State Fire Academy; Pennsylvania State Patrol Academy; Iowa Fire Services Training Bureau; New Mexico State Fire and Law Enforcement Academy; Florida Highway Patrol Academy; Washington State Fire and Law Enforcement Academy; Puerto Rico Fire Rescue and Safety Institute; West Virginia State Police Academy-Certified TIM training for LE 4-Hours In-Service Credits (CEU); and the Commonwealth of Virginia State Police and Fire Service Programs Certified TIM training for 4-Hours In-Service Credits.

Other significant institutionalization efforts include:

  • Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Commission adopted rule whereby Towers receive 4-Hours CEU credits for taking the SHRP2 TIM Responder course
  • Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) passed the RULE §435.29 Federal Highway Administration Traffic Incident Management. The rule makes the SHRP2 TIM training a mandatory CE for 31k regulated Texas Firefighters.
  • California Highway Patrol requires towers to take 4-Hr TIM as part of acceptance to contract towing list. CA towers who want to be considered for the CHP Towing contract must complete the training by 2016.
  • Tennessee Highway Patrol put out a memo that basically does the same as CHP, difference being that it was effective immediately in July 2015.

“The National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management will be 8 years old on November 20… How has it changed the face of Traffic Incident Management?” 

NEED YOUR OPINION:  If you are aware of a new policy, regulation or law that evolved to ensure that TIM responders take the foundational TIM course, please share with us.

Since the SHRP2 update took a significant amount of space, I’ll end here.  However, in the December issue, I will share with you some accomplishments and activities that took place this year and the road map for 2016.

On behalf of the FHWA Traffic Incident & Events Management Team, I wish you and yours a glorious Thanksgiving.  And stay safe out there.  Here are links to messages being promoted by NHTSA in this heavy travel season.  All involved in Traffic Incident Management have a duty to serve as Traffic Safety Advocates.  Share information…you just may save a life.


“Be an Advocate for Traffic Safety”

November 27, 2015

NHTSA provides marketing materials and media tools that you can distribute to meet your local needs and objectives. It also includes messaging and sample templates that you may choose from to support your occupant protection initiatives, and they all carry the social norming message to Buckle Up America. Every trip. Every time

For “Buckle Up America” (social norming) campaign materials, click HERE.

For “Click It or Ticket” high visibility enforcement (HVE) materials, click HERE

Figure 3

Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Emergency Response Scenarios and Transportation Infrastructure Assessment

Colin Brooks, Michigan Tech Research Institute,

And David Banach, Richard Dobson, David Dean (also Michigan Tech Research Institute)

For the past three years, the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI, in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been researching and implementing applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use in transportation and emergency based studies for state and federal transportation agencies. With rapidly advancing platform and sensor technologies, UAV-enabled remote sensing has the capability to help decrease costs and increase safety during emergency response situations and routine transportation infrastructure inspections, helping to achieve efficiency in operations, maintenance, and asset management. Through incorporating different types and sizes of UAVs and different sensors to a variety of transportation studies, MTRI has demonstrated the abilities of a UAV to quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively monitor emergency scenarios and transportation assets.

MTRI has demonstrated the use of UAVs in two mock emergency scenarios. The larger of the two demonstrations took place during a mock emergency response scenario at the 21st Intelligent Transportation System World Congress, in Detroit, Michigan on September 9th, 2014. The mock scenario included a traffic accident between a fuel carrying freight truck and a passenger car, with a simulated reported fatality in the passenger vehicle. The fuel truck tipped over spilling its contents, which in reality consisted of soapy water.  During the emergency response, MTRI worked closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation plus local and state police to show how UAV-based optical imagery could prove useful on a practical basis where information could be safely collected and shared with incident responders as quickly as possible. The UAV platform that was used was a Michigan-made Bergen hexacopter, which is capable of a typical 20 minutes of total flight time with small payloads, a maximum payload of 5kg (11 lbs), and includes a stabilized mount that is independent of platform movement and a first person viewer (FPV) system, providing the pilot vital readings such as altitude, position, vehicle forward speed, and battery life.  Attached to the Bergen hexacopter was a 36.3 megapixel Nikon D800 optical camera, which collected high-resolution imagery of the mock scenario. A second small camera provided real-time FPV video of what was being seen during the flight.  While the UAV was flown near the crash scene, the sensors were successfully able to collect imagery of the overturned freight truck and passenger car. Upon landing the UAV, collected imagery was immediately made available to the incident command center for further review. Additionally, MTRI’s traffic monitoring blimp also collected live imagery of the emergency scenario and transmitted live video of the event to emergency personnel (Figure 1).  This demonstration indicated that UAV technology can successfully be used for emergency traffic incidents where access by emergency personnel could be hindered or dangerous. UAV operators could potentially be located further away from the incident (therefore not interfering with emergency personnel) while still being able to collect useful high-resolution imagery of the accident.

drone picblimp monitorhexacopter incident

Figure 1: The Bergen hexacopter flies above a mock incident  while collecting high-resolution imagery  and imagery captured by the traffic monitoring blimp.

A second emergency scenario demonstration was conducted for the Southeast Oakland County Crash Investigation Team (SOCCIT) and involved a mock accident scene between two passenger vehicles. The accident scene, which was set up by the local police, involved a simulated side-impact crash with accident investigation already occurring. The Bergen hexacopter and Nikon D800 were flown above this accident scene and was able to capture imagery with visible investigation markers and tire marks.  In the original 36.3 megapixel images, the blue and red crash investigation markers could be used to measure distances because they were of known size and were captured in high-resolution imagery with resolutions of two millimeters) (Figure 2). Sharing the data with local police crash scene specialists confirmed the data were as useful for making measurements as traditional methods.






Figure 2: An example crash scene image taken from the Bergen hexacopter  is zoomed in to show the crash investigation markers and tire marks.

These two emergency scenario demonstrations stemmed from the research MTRI conducted using UAVs for transportation asset management. MTRI first started testing the abilities of UAVs through a United States Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (USDOT OST-R) funded study that evaluated, mapped, and managed unpaved road networks using high-resolution aerial remote sensing data ( The study was focused on enhancing and developing an unpaved road network assessment system through the use of a UAV platform and remote sensing. The UAV system was required to be able to detect, quantify, and categorize (into different quantitative bins) based on the Department of the Army’s Unsurfaced Road Condition Index (URCI)) unpaved road distress features such as loss of crown, potholes, ruts, and corrugations (washboarding). For this analysis, MTRI flew the Bergen hexacopter and Nikon D800 optical sensor at approximately 30 meters (100 ft) in altitude while collecting overlapping imagery (Figure 3). Overlapping imagery is required for digital photogrammetric reconstruction of the road segment. Through a combination of open-source and in-house created software, MTRI was able to reconstruct and produce a 3-D model representation of unpaved road segments that could be processed through algorithms that detect, quantify, and placed unpaved road distress features into categorized quantitative bins (Figure 4).  Detailed costs estimations indicated that using a UAV for unpaved road segment analysis would cost much less than typical manual inspection using URCI methods.  However, caution must be taken in the cost comparison since resolution of the output between remote sensing (centimeter resolution) and manual methods cannot be directly compared.

figure 3 figure 3.2

Figure 3: The Bergen hexacopter collects high-resolution imagery of unpaved road segments.


figure 4 figure 4.2

Figure 4: High-resolution imagery is modeled into a high-density point cloud and processed into a 3-D model that provides quantified values of unpaved road distress features.

Additionally, MTRI has received funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to evaluate the use of UAVs for transportation purposes ( This research involved the use of UAV platforms such as the Bergen hexacopter, in addition to other UAV platforms such as the DJI Phantom Vision 2 quadcopter, miniature quadcopters, and a small sized (15 feet long, 5.5 feet in diameter) advertising blimp (used for traffic monitoring purposes) (Figure 5). Additionally, optical, thermal infrared, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors were attached to the UAVs and used to collect asset management data. Each of the platforms and sensors were tested for their ability to quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively monitor bridges, roadside assets, and confined spaces (i.e. pump stations and culverts).


figure 5 figure 5.2 figure 5.3

Figure 5: The DJI Phantom Vision 2, traffic monitoring blimp and miniature quadcopter.

During bridge evaluations, the Bergen hexacopter and DJI Phantom Vision 2 were used to collect imagery of the bridge deck (Bergen) and underside (DJI).  As the Bergen hexacopter flew above the study bridge, high-resolution optical imagery, thermal infrared, and LiDAR imagery helped detect and quantify the presence of spalls (potholes) and delaminations within the bridge deck. The optical imagery was reconstructed in 3-D software to produce a digital elevation model of the bridge deck, which was processed through a MTRI developed algorithm to automatically detect the presence of spalls on the bridge deck (Figure 6). Thermal infrared imagery helped indicate the likely presence of delaminations within the bridge deck. Lastly, LiDAR provided MTRI and MDOT a 3-D point cloud with very high-quality representations of the bridge deck, guard rail, curb, surrounding embankments, and equipment near the bridge.  By incorporating UAVs into bridge assessments, a safer work environment is created for MDOT inspectors and a faster data collection method is implemented as compared to solely standard manual.

figure 6 6.2 figure 6.3

Figure 6: Optical, thermal infrared, and LiDAR  sensor outputs are able to provide different information pertaining to overall bridge condition.

Traffic monitor was accomplished using a blimp and attaching a Sony Galaxy 4G camera, which is capable of transmitting live video and imagery though a cell phone connection, underneath the blimp (Figure 7). Use of a blimp for this purpose is beneficial to emergency personnel and transportation agencies as it only requires rapid temporary deployment that can last for several days (useful for special circumstances such as emergency situations or sporting events) as compared to permanent long-term infrastructure installation. Demonstration of this technology was given at the 2014 Intelligent Transportation System World Congress in Detroit, Michigan. The traffic monitoring blimp was installed on Belle Isle, on the Detroit River, and transmitted near-live video feed (with about a 10-second delay) to a mock traffic operations center located inside of Cobo Hall, about six miles away.

figure 7 figure 7.2

Figure 7: Temporary installation of a traffic monitoring blimp can transmit live traffic imagery and information to transportation operations personnel.

Lastly, as part of the MDOT project MTRI inspected multiple confined spaces (highway pump stations) near Detroit, Michigan using miniature quadcopters. The quadcopters were built with small optical video cameras, which were able to send live video imagery to a mobile phone via WiFi (Figure 8). Small UAVs were required in this environment in order to be able to maneuver through the entrance hatch (approximately 4 ft2in size) and around pipes inside of the pump station. These demonstrations indicated that this technology is useful for this environment as it allows the inspector to inspect the conditions of the pump station before entering and reduces the need to send an inspector into a potentially dangerous environment without knowing what the space looks like.

figure 8.2

Figure 8: The miniature quadcopters collect live video imagery, which can be transmitted to a cellular device.

Through careful evaluation of UAV capabilities, MTRI has aided emergency personnel and federal and state transportation agencies in gaining access to advanced technologies that can provide cheaper and safer ways of collecting critical operations and maintenance information. By using remote sensing as a type of non-obstructive and non-destructive data collection method, important surrounding conditions can be measured from a distance without interfering with emergency personnel, touching transportation infrastructure, or disrupting traffic. With continued advances in both the types of UAVs and sensors that are available, and in the rules and regulations that restrict UAV use, inspectors in both emergency and infrastructure assessment situations can gain new methods of information and data collection while also obtaining substantial cost savings and creating safer environments for inspector personal.


U.S. Department of Transportation disclaimer: The views, opinions, findings and conclusions reflected in this presentation are the responsibility of the authors only and do not represent the official policy or position of the USDOT/OST-R, or any State or other entity.

Highway Incidents and the National Incident Management System

Highway Incidents and the National Incident Management was condensed from a highway maintenance worker supervisor and manger training workshop. The author lives in Nebraska and can be contacted at or 402-660-6842.

Jim McGee

State highway departments and local public works departments face the prospects of all natural and manmade hazards 365 days per year and are increasingly engaged in multi-agency and multi-state incident management activities that require interagency teamwork.  Nearly every emergency response unction scenario has a transportation component that assumes that highways are open for the movement of people, materials and resources such as fuel, goods and emergency supplies.

The nation’s interstates, state highways and local roadways are essential infrastructure and must be reliably secure, functioning, and resilient. Local incidents can grow to regional incidents; and regional incidents can grow to national incidents quickly.

There are 1,000,000 miles of federal-aid highways. Of those, just 220,000 miles are operated by state Departments of Transportation. The rest, 780,000 miles, are operated by a mix of local jurisdictions, including thousands of counties, cities, towns and villages. 75% of federal aid highways and 231,000 bridges are owned and operated by counties not state DOTs.  Highway enforcement and emergency response services are provided by 170,000 police agencies of all sizes and tens of thousands of volunteer fire and EMS services.

Among the many hard lessons learned from the terrorist attack in 2001 was that multi-agency response can be hindered by institutional and technical shortcomings and the failure to plan, exercise, train, evaluate and correct before disaster strikes has consequences that affect lives and property.

One result of the 2001 tragedy was the development of the all-hazards, risk-based approach to planning, exercising and training; the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and recognition that the Fire Service’s Incident Command System (ICS) works for complex incidents, including highway incidents. ICS has been used for years by the Fire Service. The teamwork approach that works well during disasters and emergencies but can also improve the day-to-day highway operations and the detection, size-up, verification, and response to routine incidents.

There are thousands of pages of training materials, documents and resources about the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command Structure (ICS); and the sheer volume of material can be intimidating and overwhelming; but the bottom line is that NIMS and ICS are not as complex as the volume of material suggests.

NIMS and ICS are meant to simplify things and improve response in a complex, multi-jurisdictional world where the local, regional and national supply chains are interconnected and no agency is isolated. Inter-agency planning, exercising and training prior to any disaster or emergency works by enabling a better response and without compromising individual agency authority.

Modern highway incident responses demand an orderly chain-of-command, a common way of speaking (no codes), an Incident Action Plan, and understanding that all responders, including highway maintenance and public works department workers, report only to one person within the Incident Command System or ICS.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was intended to put the country in a proactive stance following the chaos of 9-11-2001 and to improve the nation’s capability to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive National Incident Management System (NIMS) that covers the prevention, preparation, response, and recovery of terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies and that allows all levels of government throughout the nation to work efficiently and effectively together using a standard approach to domestic incident management.

NIMS promotes public agency coordination with other public agencies as well as with the private and nongovernmental sectors. Coordination assures improved planning, equipment, training, and exercise activities and promotes partnerships and working together to address incident management capabilities prior to an actual incident and not at the incident scene.

A basic understanding of NIMS and ICS is necessary for effective Traffic Incident Management training; and will help agencies meet coming transportation act objectives that will demand increased collaboration, multi-state partnerships and urban-rural linkages. The Incident Command System originated with the Fire Service to provide order during large-scale forest fires and Unified Command is an important aspect of the Incident Command System.

Unified Command means that all agencies with jurisdictional responsibility participate as a team in the management of the incident by developing a common set of incident objectives and strategies that all can subscribe to without losing agency authority, responsibility or accountability. An understanding of Unified command is important to local operations plans and inter-agency and mutual aid agreements. Training in Unified Command with local jurisdictions and functional departments leads to improved responses and outcomes; but Unified Command can’t be used unless everybody first agrees to participate. Chain-of-command means that there is an orderly line of authority and reporting within the response organization. Unity of command means that personnel report only to one supervisor and maintain formal communications only with that supervisor. Formal communications include receiving and giving work assignments, requesting support or resources, and reporting progress of assignments.

Instances when Unified Command may be useful include incidents that impact or involve several jurisdictions and their functional agencies, such as hazardous materials incidents, severe weather, highway-rail intersection crashes, major vehicle crashes and infrastructure failure.

Agency policies can affect incident objectives and the Incident Commander must understand the limits of authority.  Policies and guidelines that can influence authority include pre-incident plans, standard operation procedures, emergency operations plans, mutual-aid and detour routes, agreements, field operations guides and state data fusion centers.

The Incident Action Plan is a key part of ICS. For simple incidents of short duration, the Incident Action Plan (IAP) will be developed by the Incident Commander and communicated to subordinates in a verbal briefing.  The planning for a simple incident does not demand a formal planning meeting process; but conditions can demand the need for the Incident Commander to engage a more formal process and a written IAP.  A written IAP is useful whenever two or more jurisdictions are involved in the response; the incident continues more than a few hours; several organizational elements are activated; or when a hazardous materials incident is involved.

Communication with the public is critical. Public information is an important aspect of ICS. Public information is provided at regular intervals but only through the chain-of-command.  Highway department public information officers should participate in emergency management training.  Exercises provide opportunities to practice and test public information capabilities and to improve and maintain proficiency in a controlled environment.  Exercises assess and validate policies, plans, and procedures, and clarify and familiarize personnel with roles and responsibilities.  Exercises improve interagency coordination and communication, highlight gaps, and identify opportunities for improvement.

During complex highway incidents, public information must follow the  constraints on the release of information imposed by the Incident Commander;  ensure no conflicting information is released; identify the place and time for press briefings; release news to media; and contact media to correct erroneous or misleading information being provided to the public via the media, including social media; and ensure that information provided to the public is consistent across jurisdictional and state boundaries and multi-state highway corridors.

Be sure to register for the SHRP2  Traffic Incident Management Training on November 16, 2015, in Atlanta, GA!

The registration for this training is free and there will be two identical four-hour sessions: Session 1 – 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and Session 2 – 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. See the link below for registration.

TIM Network/FHWA Knowledge Management System (KMS) 

The TIM Network coupled with the Federal Highway Administration has launched a new TIM Knowledge Management System. We encourage all TIM Network members to submit articles, resources, and any other general TIM information that could help practitioners across the nation. As seen below, these featured articles will be included in The Responder. Don’t be afraid to submit!



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