The Responder June/July 2016

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

June 30, 2016

It’s almost Independence Day again.  Where has the time gone?  Since the last issue I hope everyone took the opportunity to pay their respects to those who have served in the military and gone before us.  We always go to a Veteran or Military Cemetery over Memorial Day to reflect about how fortunate our family is, and to realize the cost of our freedom.  On July 4th we will get another opportunity to celebrate this freedom that means so much.

As the holiday weekend approaches, more and more people will be traveling for vacations, and some traveling back home for the holiday.  I have made a couple of trips in the last week and have experienced high volumes of traffic on the highways;  it seems that the highways are always full.  I received a message from Gary Light, a friend of mine who has been in the public safety communications and equipment business for many years.  He and his family were traveling across Missouri when they were saved by median guard cable.  Here is his message:

“Tell your friends at MoDOT that the crossover cables saved my life and my family’s life today. It was on I-70 west of Boonville. The median is so dry I could see a cloud of dust and thought a westbound semi must have dropped a tire off the pavement. Then out of the cloud of dust a pickup was headed right towards us. I don’t know if he got squeezed into the median by the truck, or if he screwed up. I started to make a lane change to get over but I knew there was no way I would avoid a head-on collision. About then the pickup struck the crossover cables and spun around on his side of the median. Mary was in one of the backseats and I just made eye contact in the rearview mirror. I didn’t want to alarm our daughter. About then I thought to myself that was too close”.

I think this is a great testament to the engineering that has been done to make our highways safer.  I am thankful that Gary and his family were safe, and that the median guard cables did their job.  While I was traveling this last week I saw so many drivers using cell phones, reading, eating and doing so many other things than driving.  We have become a distracted society.

Last week I was in an ICS Train-the-Trainer course sponsored by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson City.  The course was very well instructed by William Johnson, of Point Technology, and Mike Cherry, of Franklin County Missouri Fire Protection District #1.  The attendees included representatives of law enforcement, fire, FEMA, MoDOT and emergency management personnel.  This is much like a partial list of stakeholders for a TIM program.  In fact, the SHRP2 National TIM for Responders training was discussed on several occasions during the class.  There was one group absent from the training that was so obvious to me; there was no representative from the towing industry.

The absence of the towing industry was troubling.  While I was attending the ICS training I contacted representatives of the towing industry to discuss the training.  As with other training courses that are offered, the towing industry was not aware of the training.  I have often heard comments about the towing industry needing more training for their personnel.  Personnel in all disciplines should continually receive training to improve their skills and learn new information.  ICS training is critically important to all who respond to incidents on the highways.  Everyone responding to an incident needs to be on the same page.  The towing industry is unintentionally left out of the notifications for much of this training.  They are not on law enforcement, fire or EMS training lists.  Most are not on emergency management training lists.  It would be difficult at best for the towing industry to find this type of training online.

As I said, it is unintentional that the towing industry is not made aware of this training.  The TIM Network does its best to keep everyone up-to-date on training offerings across the country.  When training is offered in your area, make sure to notify members of the towing industry of these opportunities.  The vast majority of towers in this country are well trained professionals who strive to be the best in their industry.  We, as responders, need to make sure that we do everything that we can to give everyone the opportunity to be the best in their discipline.  Please include the towing industry in your training.  We can’t safely clear incidents on the highways without their help.

As I have noted in previous issues, we are working to update the TIM Network membership database and increase membership.  The updates to the databases are being completed and we are trying to merge some files.  This has been quite a project as several lists have to be merged, but we are getting there.  The TIM Network will soon have additional information from Knowledge Management Systems available online.

Several months ago I challenged everyone to forward the Responder to others in their organization who are not members, and to others outside their organizations who would be interested in becoming members of the TIM Network.  I want to issue that challenge to everyone, again.  The continued safety of our personnel, in every discipline, depends on all of us sharing best practices, training, ideas, and lessons learned.  Membership is free, and the benefits of being a member can be lifesaving.

Please pass the Responder along to at least one person and encourage them to join.

In order for the TIM Network to grow, we need your information.  Please send information to be included in the Responder.  This information can include training information, technological information, best practices, incident information, information on equipment that may be useful in TIM, or any other information that you feel would be beneficial to the membership.  We are always looking for information from all disciplines that will benefit us all.  Please contact me if you have questions or would like to provide information for an article.

It is the road construction season across the country.  As you travel for work or pleasure, be aware of work zones and emergency vehicles on the roadways.  Move Over And/Or Slow Down and give them plenty of room.  Please take the time to talk with friends and relatives TIM.  Let them know what they need to do as they approach and drive through an incident scene or work zone.  Explain the dangers faced by responders every day.  Our lives depend on it.

As I close, I want to again thank all responders for what you do.  We are like a large family in the emergency response community.  We run in when others run away.  We all say regularly, “ I am just doing my job”, but it is much more than that.  The world is a better, safer place because of all of you.  Keep up the good work and take care of each other.


Be safe as you travel.


Rusty James

TIM Network Liaison


View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

 How do we train the  Post Millennials 1998-2014 (69 million) ?

NY Times Article : “We are the first true digital natives,” said Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone.”

“Generation Z (Post Millennials) takes in information instantaneously,” she said, “and loses interest just as fast.”  Continue reading the main story

 2016 Killed in the Line of Duty   *all causes*

Police Officers   49
Firefighters       30
EMS                   04  National Association of State EMS Officials – TIM
Towers               04

TIM Network
FHWA Traffic Incident Management
Responder Safety Learning Network
NFFF Fire Learning Network
IACP * Police Officer Safety
Towing and Recovery Association of America
Safe Highways -SSP
IAFF Health, Safety, Medicine
NFPA 1500 Health and Safety
FHWA Safe Quick Clearance
NFFF – FIRE/EMS  Vulnerability Assessment Tool
 Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate


Towing and Recovery Association of America, Inc.® (TRAA)  TIM Efforts 

On April 23rd 48 more towing and recovery responders were trained including law enforcement and fire personnel during a Wisconsin DOT Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) Program held at Roskopf’s Towing in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

This 4-hour training session provides Wisconsin Incident Responders a uniform approach to emergency traffic control and scene management to help provide the safest possible work environment to minimize the risk of secondary crashes and aid in clearing an incident in a quick effective manner.

We want to thank the trainers and all the participants who attended this important training session to help keep all Emergency Responders – which includes towers, safe on the roadways.

The Towing and Recovery Association of America, Inc.® (TRAA) the national towing association has taken on the role to encourage all state towing associations to make an initiative to host this 4 Hr. SHRP2 training at either their Association Office or Association event. We also ask that they follow the actions of the Wisconsin Towing Association and ask their member towers to host a class at their tow company locations.

As of right now this SHRP2 4-hour class is funded by FHWA and is provided at no cost to all Incident Responders. TRAA feels that the towers need to take advantage of the opportunity now to train their employees before it becomes mandatory. Many states are already requiring TIM Training. Funding won’t last forever, waiting will only cost you money and our industry more lives.

Most of the towers that attended our class reported back by saying “This was the best 4-hours spent. It puts all responders on the same page so that we all know who does what and who’s in charge of what.”.

Hopefully all State Towing Associations and towers will follow along and host a SHRP2 training session.

I do know that we will be having more SHRP2 training classes throughout the state of Wisconsin soon.


Jeff Roskopf

TRAA President 


TDOT Teaches TIM Courses to Cadets 

TDOT 4 TDOT 2 pic

This is something we at TDOT ‘HELP’ Nashville are proud of. We have partnered with the TN Law Enforcement Training Academy to be able to teach TIMS 8 Hour courses to the cadets at the Academy as part of their training. I should also mention that these cadets are from Police and Sherriff’s offices from all over the state, representing small towns, large cities, and counties. Some of these future Law Enforcement Officers may or may not receive this training before they hit the streets, and we are proud to reach these men and women to better equip them with knowledge to better handle themselves and protect  themselves and the public.We are doing this quarterly, and we train them on the course in the last week of their training. This is our second class, and we had 92 cadets in the class today! We have partnered with TN Highway Patrol, and other agencies to present this class and today we were able to take the entire class to the Highway Incident track at THP Training facility to get a hands on look at a scenario and answer questions they had on each module as it related to the scenario we had staged. We feel this is a step in the right direction to getting TIMS training to personnel that are about to go into the field and be faced with traffic Incidents. This will make an impact on better response in the future by building stronger partnerships, and teams that will be able to manage these incidents confidently, with coordination and communication. Just wanted to share this, and we are hoping to do the same with the TN Fire and Codes Academy to bring other agencies, and disciplines into the fold. I hope to have more news to share in the future. Thank You so much for your time in this matter!



John Sullivan 

A wrong turn led to Philadelphia for new fire chief

By Julia Terruso, Staff Writer

David Swanson, Staff Photographer

Theil Pic

New fire commissioner Adam Thiel, left, the former chief of the Alexandria, VA fire department, shares a laugh with Gary Loesch, right, deputy chief.

It was 24 years ago when the then-19-year-old student at American University got lost returning to campus and passed a firehouse advertising free EMT lessons.

Thiel, impressed by the emergency responders who rushed his father to the hospital when he was dying of cancer, signed up and never looked back.

“Once I got hooked, I was all in,” said Thiel, Philadelphia’s new fire commissioner. Thiel, 43, is the first non-Philadelphian to lead the city’s fire department. He has worked in Maryland, Virginia, Arizona and North Carolina. He has been fire director for Virginia, chief of the Alexandria fire department, and deputy chief of homeland security for Virginia.

Despite a standout resume, his appointment was not universally applauded here.

Club Valiants, Philadelphia’s association of black firefighters, said it was disappointed that the acting commissioner, Derrick Sawyer, an African American, had not been kept on in the executive position.

“Although Fire Commissioner Thiel has an extensive background, he has some huge shoes to fill,” president Lisa C. Forrest said in a statement. “It will take a collaborative effort from the stakeholders to continually move this department in a progressive manner.”

The firefighters’ union, Local 22 of the International Association of Firefighters, said it would have preferred an internal selection.

Despite that, Thiel said his first two weeks have been welcoming.

“The one thing about public safety, in general, we are kind of a big family so I really do feel like this is my family now,” he said, in an interview in his office at Second and Spring Garden Streets last week.

Thiel, who makes $180,000 a year, has inherited a department of 1,790 with slowing response times and funding challenges. It is still reeling from the death in 2014 of Joyce Craig, the department’s first female firefighter to die in the line of duty.

Last year, the department was tainted by a sex scandal in which two battalion chiefs, a captain, a lieutenant, a paramedic, and two firefighters faced discipline for sexual encounters with a paramedic.

Racial tensions too have long bubbled below the surface.

When Thiel, who is white, started as chief in Alexandria in 2007, he walked into a similarly skeptical and somewhat racially divided department of 250 members, said John Morehead, who led the local chapter of black firefighters there.

“Some of the same feelings probably going on in Philadelphia were going on here,” Morehead said. “We didn’t traditionally trust the structure to select somebody to do the right thing.”

But Thiel surprised him, Morehead said.

Thiel appointed a diverse executive staff, attended community events that the black union held and made training more inclusive.

The first class of firefighters hired under Thiel better represented the community, Morehead said.

Thiel also tackled a vicious anonymous blog with hateful posts about people in the department. “He ended the bullying. He said, ‘I will find you and I will grind you out,’ ” Morehead said, “And that blog disappeared fast.”

Andrew Snead, Thiel’s second in command in Alexandria, said the tension when Thiel took over “was unbelievable.”

“It was black against white. It was old against new. Everybody had established a corner,” he said.

Snead, who is black, said Thiel, got people to start working together.

Thiel, at the moment, is in the process of meeting with Club Valiants, Local 22, and the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters.

“I don’t know a fire department that doesn’t have these problems,” Thiel said. “I think we really do need to establish dialogue, bring people together. You just can’t avoid the fact that a successful organization is one that’s diverse and inclusive.”

Snead described Thiel as someone who can “play and coach.”

He recalled a residential fire in 2011 when a steady rain quickly turned to flash flooding.

“Our unit was trapped, all of the sudden waist high in water,” Snead said. Thiel instructed the unit to tether together so a second team could pull them from the rushing water.

“His coordination, calmness and coolness, I know it saved lives,” Snead said.

Thiel grew up in Chicago, and earned a degree in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after transferring from American. He went on to obtain a master’s degree and complete coursework for a Ph.D., but didn’t finish his dissertation.

He worked for two fire stations serving Durham, N.C., then for the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department in Virginia before becoming Virginia state fire director. He did a three-year stint as deputy chief of the Goodyear, Ariz., fire department, and then spent seven years as chief of Alexandria’s fire department. Most recently, he was deputy secretary of homeland security in Virginia.

Thiel is trained in scuba rescue, competes in triathlons, and likes the fitness regime CrossFit. He is divorced with two children, 12 and 14, who live in North Carolina.

He comes on board as Philadelphia completes its review of Craig’s death.

He would not discuss the findings until the full report is released but said the report will offer a road map for change.

Thiel said he’s impressed so far with the department especially given Philadelphia’s landscape and thin resources compared to other urban departments.

“There aren’t many places you can go where you have buildings 200-plus years-old next to tower cranes building the absolute latest, most modern, high rises,” Thiel said. “So we need to be able to calibrate our resources to that unique environment.”

Thiel, who lives in Roxborough, said he has long admired the history of the city and its fire department. He recalled how after he was named the new commissioner, he received a call from Harold B. Hairston, who had been the city’s first black fire commissioner.

“This is such a dynamic, iconic city and it’s a great fire department,” Thiel said. “When I was coming up, Commissioner Hairston was one of the greats, a legend in our business. The opportunity to be part of that, it’s a little surreal.”



Why I Don’t Want To Be a TMC Operator

 (Part 2)

Leo van den Berg

Technology Scout and ITS consultant


TMC pic

Last week I had a long talk with an R&D professional of a large IT-company. I’ve known him for years now and I have had the pleasure to work with him in various projects. He read my post about TMC operators and he wanted to relieve his feelings about the statements I made in that post. 

“I feel a bit offended” was the first thing he said to me. “Do you really think the ITS industry is not able to build interoperable systems?” he added with a slightly angry tone. I calmed him down a bit by explaining I deliberately made some of the statements to be able to write this sequel and elaborate a bit more on the subject of interoperability.

In a perfect world a TMC operator would be fully “situation aware”, able to efficiently manage traffic both immediately and in the near future. Unfortunately the world is not perfect and a TMC operator has to deal with numerous heterogeneous systems, each with its own specific infrastructure, data [definitions], quality, user-interface, etc. etc.

A TMC operator needs to gather the bits-and-pieces of data and create a sort of virtual “between-the-ears” view of the actual situation on the road. Based on his personal view the operator makes decisions and takes whatever action. Although it’s a workable approach, in my opinion it shouldn’t be the desired approach, because it depends heavily on the experience and stress resistance skills of the operator.

Under normal working circumstances this “manual” approach is sufficiently efficient, but complex incidents with multi-regional impact and multi-departmental involvement requires the operator’s full attention and concentration. While handling such a crisis, the operator can’t afford to lose precious time dealing with heterogeneous data sources.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not going to suggest the substitution of TMC operators by some Artificial Intelligence system for fully automatic incident- or traffic management decisions. That would be an attempt to optimize an already efficient part of the whole traffic management chain. Further optimization could be found in – for instance – standardizing the operator’s work protocols or making the operator’s toolbox more efficient.

The first optimization is based on the operator’s best practice and helps to make traffic management knowledge more accessible and transmissible between TMC operators and other involved agencies; A great example of organizational interoperability. Although a great subject, it’s out-of-scope for this blog: Maybe another time!

The other optimization (the toolbox) has everything to do with the more technical aspects of interoperability.

The main interoperability problem of older TMC equipment was the lack of a common blueprint (ITS architecture) when the system was implemented. Does this mean that all modern – ITS-architecture based – systems are fully interoperable?  Tough question with a fuzzy answer: It depends…

Most of the European ITS architectures are based on the Frame Architecture; a Framework consisting of Functional, Physical and Communication views.  The Frame Architecture provides everything you need to define you own National ITS architecture (blueprint) for further development, but it doesn’t contain proposals for semantic or technical interoperability. This sounds contradictory, but the objective of Frame was not to create a kind of single European super system, but rather leave implementation choices to member states. This means that systems from different European member states are conceptually compatible, but can’t be connected to your TMC because of the implementation differences. The system supplier needs to provide physical or software “converters” to make the system interact with the rest of your TMC infrastructure; A real commercial disadvantage and in my opinion the reason that ITS industry focuses mainly on their own national market.

How about the non-TMC systems? As mentioned in my first post, TMC operators use a multitude of web pages each containing some parts of the needed information and different pages sometimes provide the same kind of information but with differences in formats and quality. How to deal with these differences? You can’t oblige external companies to “be compatible” without any noticeable benefit.

I would like to advocate a more “open” and “service oriented” approach to tackle the interoperability problem. The Internet is full of providers who make their services available to inventors/developers. A small example:

Last week I launched a free – Twitter based – incident statistics service (@IM_in_the_Cloud). The service provides daily statistics about Traffic Incidents in the Netherlands. Thanks to Open Data and Open API’s I was able to integrate my Incident Management application with the Dutch National Data warehouse for Traffic Information and the 320 Million-user Twitter network without any difficulties.

Openness: the 2016-way of building new services and creating new markets.

Let’s go back to the role of the IT-industry and why their developers create “non-interoperable” systems: Interoperability isn’t usually in the scope of provided requirements. Unrequested features are normally not rewarded, mean an additional effort and make an offer less competitive: As simple as that.

So decision makers: if you want systems to fit in a “bigger picture”: define your [open] National ITS-Architecture, clarify any “semantic and technical interoperability” issues and use them as annex in all your RFP’s.

Your TMC operators will be eternally grateful for such an “interoperable” approach!

Leo van den Berg works as an independent consultant in the area where ITS and IT meet. He has over 30 years’ experience in the development of Traffic Management & Enforcement systems. Leo is an enthusiastic Technology Scout who tries to find solutions for real-world problems. 

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Leo van den Berg.  The article has been reprinted with his permission.  Leo van den Berg may be reached at the following link in LinkedIn:   


Traffic Incident Management Training Gets a Boost from Association and State Efforts

Towing and Recovery Association of America Launches Initiative to Promote Life-Saving Responder Training

SHRP2’s National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training Program (L12) continues to increase the number of incident responders trained in this multi-disciplinary training approach. More than 190,000 law enforcement, fire and rescue, and towing and recovery professionals, and other organizations have taken advantage of the program.

On June 14, 2016, the Towing and Recovery Association of America, Inc. (TRAA) released a press release announcing an initiative to encourage all TRAA members, state towing associations, and their members to host the 4-hour version of the National TIM Responder Training. The TIM Responder Training helps to ensure a well-coordinated response to traffic incidents, achieving faster clearance and improved safety for both responders and motorists.

Jim Austrich, FHWA SHRP2 product lead for TIM says, “This TRAA initiative will help us reach our goal to train nearly 80,000 towing and recovery professionals across the country.” As of June 27, 2016, an estimated 16,558 towing and recovery professionals have already received TIM training – more than 20% of the towing and recovery professionals who have been identified for training. The TRAA’s aim is to implement and institutionalize TIM education within the industry.

Hosting an in-person TIM Responder Training is relatively easy. Simply contact at FHWA or your State Department of Transportation Office to get started.

National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training Program Status Report and Implementation Progress Maps

See the attached TIM Training Program Status Report and Implementation Progress Maps from the FHWA Traffic Incident & Event Management Team.

TIM Training Status Report – 062716

TIM Training Status Maps – 062716


NOCoE Webinar – Hard Shoulder Running

July 14, 2016, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., EDT – please use the link below for more details and registration.


Save the Date for the next Maine-New Hampshire Traffic Incident Management Committee Meeting on July 22nd!

To be held at noon at the York Village Fire Station.

See below for last meeting’s minutes.



Register for the 8th Annual Women in Public Service Conference, September 21-22, 2016!

Please see attached registration form below.


We are excited to share with you the confirmed speakers for this year’s WIPS Conference, “Building Bridges to Excellence”. Registration opens July 15, with “early bird” registration savings available through August 15! We hope you will join us. If you have questions, contact the conference chair at the following email address,>.


TIME Task Force Conference – Call for Presentations 

Please see the attached information for the TIME Task Force Conference taking place on October 24th-25th, 2016!

TIME call for conference presentations

2016 TIME Sponsor and Exhibitor

2016 Silent Auction


Federal Aviation Administration News

Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107)


Fire Service Online Training Free with Certificates

Please see the link below to access the free training.


In the News of TIM

Michigan: Grant Taylor could receive a second competency evaluation


New Jersey: Piscataway Police Car Chase Ends in Cemetery; Injured Officer Fires Shot at Suspect


Delaware: Construction worker struck and killed by mini-van on I-95


Body Cam Captures Near Miss for NJ Officer

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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