The Responder December 2016

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

I have traveled quite a bit at the end of the summer and through the fall of this year.  I sat down to catch my breath and realized that I am late doing this article, and that it is the December article already.  The older I get the faster time seems to go; when I was little I remember how long it seemed to take for Christmas to get here.  Before we know it, the holidays will be over and we will be starting another year.  I know that I have been blessed throughout this year.  I continue to work with the best of the best in the responder community.  We continue to bring more responders into our “family” as we move into the future with Traffic Incident Management.

Across the country we continue to train more responders utilizing the SHRP2 National TIM for Responders curriculum.  There have been many Train-the-Trainer (T-t-T) sessions conducted as well.  The curriculum was so well developed, relying on the experience of experts in every TIM discipline.  There are reviews and updates being done on the program to keep the curriculum current and applicable for all of us.  When we can get personnel into the classes, the program sells itself.   If we could get everyone who has completed the T-t-T courses to teach, we would really be moving towards the goal of getting all responders trained.  In addition to getting more personnel trained, we have to concentrate on getting those instructors who have completed the T-t-T course, who are so valuable to the success of the program, to teach.  I enjoy teaching the classes and continue to learn from the students with each class.  All of the instructors who I have worked with feel the same way.  So, if you have received the T-t-T training please help us and all of our “responder family” by teaching classes when you can.

Recently we have all heard a lot about building the business case for TIM.  This has been a hot topic across the country.  Most of us in the responder disciplines have not had to build a business case because our business comes to us.  In law enforcement I did not have to look far to find business.  I know that this is true for fire, EMS and the DOT.  The towing industry must always consider the business case for what they do.  Failing to do so will cost them their business.  However, we are all now in a position where we must work to build this business case.  We must be able to show the benefits of good, effective TIM, and we must justify the costs. If we don’t, even the most successful TIM program is in jeopardy.  Performance measures help us to do this, and some of that data is being captured now.  It is up to all of us to make sure that we consider these performance measures, and effective TIM strategies when we do our jobs.  Our lives, and the lives of motorists depend on us justifying our TIM programs.  The main performance measures that are being captured are Roadway Clearance Time, Incident Clearance Time and Secondary Crashes.  Agencies and organizations across the country are working to properly capture this data.  Since the performance measure data for one incident may come from a number of sources it is difficult to accurately record the data.  Most crash reports and dispatch CAD systems aren’t capable of capturing secondary crash data.  Many states and vendors are working to update their reports, CAD systems and ATMS systems to better capture the data.  We still have a ways to go.  Please be aware of the performance measures that are being captured and strive to provide accurate information.

In the classes and workshops that I have conducted lately, the absence of motorists in our list of TIM stakeholders has been noted.  There have been many discussions to try and include motorists and provide TIM information to them.  There have been toolkits developed to provide information to the press so that it might be passed along to the motoring public.  I think I can say that the motoring public is not getting the information.  Most all states have relaxed the requirement of driver education for new drivers.  Many have driver license renewals that only require a renewal after many years.  There may be a test but there is little information, if any, in the tests concerning TIM.  There is little information about work zones or even the newer designs for intersections and interchanges.  That being the case, when we include red and blue lights in the mix, drivers are lost.  As we consider whose job it is to train motorists or provide them with the information that they need to drive on our highways, don’t forget to look in the mirror.  We all share the responsibility to teach others.  This lack of information on the part of drivers is a national problem.  However, like other incidents it will be solved locally.  As responders we cannot rely on others to do what we know must be done.  When we have an opportunity to talk with motorists about our jobs and what we do, we have to take that opportunity.

In the responder disciplines, in my opinion,  the only discipline that really does outreach to the public regularly, about all safety topics, is fire.  The public can go to most any fire station, talk to the firefighters, climb on trucks and receive safety information.  Most any day, most anywhere.  I salute firefighters and fire departments for taking the opportunity to promote themselves.  I joke in every class that “everyone loves a firefighter”.  It’s true.  To really provide the information that we want drivers to know, we have to promote ourselves and our organizations.  We must sell what we want drivers to know.  It is not as hard as it sounds, it is just taking every opportunity that comes our way to talk about what we do, what we need and what we expect.

Whether or not you take the time to think about it, we are all very good at what we do.  We are all really good.  On our worst days we are so much better than we used to be.  We work safer, we work smarter and we save lives.  The TIM responders that I have worked with are truly the best of the best.  We have to tell people how good we are.  Most drivers have no idea what we do, or why we do it.  If we want them to know, we have to tell them.  And, it starts at home.

We all have the ability to effect change.  We must take the opportunities that we are presented with, or make some opportunities to change behavior.  As I said the issues that we all face will be solved locally, and it is up to all of us.

As I have been involved in law enforcement and TIM, I realized that we rely heavily on volunteers in our country.  December 5th was International Volunteer Day.  While this article won’t reach you by that date, it is never too late to thank those who volunteer.  I have always lived in a city with career police, fire, EMS and public works / DOT personnel available.  I was unaware, until I began working with Jim McGee, who retired from the Nebraska Department of Roads, just how many volunteer agencies there are in our country.  For example, according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) only 15% of fire departments in the U.S. are all career or mostly all career departments, and they protect two-thirds of the population.  That leaves 85% of the fire departments in our country to rely solely on volunteers.  The number of career firefighter positions has remained constant, but the number of volunteers has decreased.

I use fire personnel as the example as this information is readily available from NFPA.  Other organizations that rely on volunteers have seen decreases, as well.  I have the upmost respect for volunteers.  Face it, we can’t run our country without them.  We should all take the time to recognize those who volunteer their time, efforts and experience to help protect and serve us.  And we must make sure that we make every effort to provide training and support to them.  This is another one of those opportunities that I mentioned.  Take every opportunity to recognize, thank and mentor those who volunteer to make our lives safer and improve our quality of life.

Back to the holiday season.  I have told a number of people recently that they could expect much the same message at the end of my article this month as they saw in November and last December.  As I begin to wind down from several great careers and spend more time with those I love, I find it much more important to spread the word about what we do.  And, again, it starts at home.

Most of us will be spending time with those we love and care about during this holiday season.  We will be taking time to give thanks for all that we have and all that we have to look forward to.  What better time than the present to create the opportunities that we all know are needed?  When you are with those you love and care about this holiday season take time to discuss what is expected of them when they encounter an incident on the roadways.  Discuss work zone safety, traffic control, highway design and other transportation related topics that have probably not been at the top of the list for holiday dinner topics.  Their lives, and the lives of those working on the roadways depend on it.

As you travel during the holidays be sure that you do all that you can to be as safe as you can be.  Be sure to buckle up, and be sure to properly restrain children in vehicles.  These seem like such simple things to those of us who are, or have been responders. But there are still serious injuries and deaths our roadways that could have been prevented with seat belts and child restraints.

As you celebrate the holidays please don’t drive while impaired.  Plan ahead for your celebration.  Include a designated driver, one who has had nothing to drink, as a part of your plans.  Or, stay where you are celebrating.  And, encourage those you love and care about to do the same.  You will be glad that you did.

Enjoy the holidays.  Take every opportunity that you can to educate family, friends, and others about what we do.  We can all bring about change.  No time is better than now.

Happy Holidays!


Rusty James, TIM Network Liaison


View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

 Give your agency a year ending  gift.  Review your SOP’s on Traffic Incident Management and training on highway operations. 
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
2016 Killed in the Line of Duty   *all causes*

Police Officers   133
Firefighters         77
EMS      ?             6+
Towers  ?            8+
DOT Workers    ?

 Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

TDOT ‘HELP’ Update 

The TDOT ‘HELP’ Highway Emergency Incident Response Unit in Nashville TN expansion is underway. Region 3 is expanding our regular patrol routes to cover two additional counties. This new patrol area begins service on November 15th 2016 and adds 2 ‘HELP’ Trucks to cover 20 miles in Rutherford County TN. from I-24 MM 64 (Davidson/Rutherford Co. line)to MM 84. The other route will be adding 1 ‘HELP’ Truck adding 15 miles coverage to Williamson County TN.  I-65 MM 74 (Davidson/Williamson Co. line) to MM 59 (I-840) 9 new hires were added to staff the 3 shifts (7 days a week 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) along with an update of new vehicles added to the fleet. TDOT has also added expansion routes and personnel in Region 2 Chattanooga, and Region 4 Memphis. Region 1 Knoxville begins a similar expansion in early 2017.  We look forward to working more closely with our partner agencies in these new expansion areas to effectively ease congestion, reduce secondary crashes, more quickly detect, respond to, and manage Highway Incidents in these areas. Thank You from all of us here at TDOT Nashville ‘HELP’ Unit.

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responders Call to Action:

1st Annual Traffic Incident Response Week

Engaging Public Safety & Transportation TIM Responders

to Raise Motorist, Traffic Media & Responder Awareness of Duties

When Involved in a Crash or Other Traffic Incident

November 13 to 17, 2017 (National Traffic Incident Response Week)

November 19, 2017 (World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims)

Never before in the Nation’s history have State, Tribal, Regional and Local governments – in conjunction with many private sector and discipline association partners—focused on improving responses to traffic crashes.  Too many motorists and responders have lost their lives or suffered extensive, debilitating injuries that greatly reduce their quality of life.  Fast response to lane blocking incidents also prevent significant property damage that leads to higher insurance rates; reduce impacts of delays on-time delivery, and risks to the environment.



FHWA, which leads National collaboration on the traffic incident management branch of public safety discipline, asks State, Tribal, Regional and Local Public Safety to join media, grassroots community groups, and motorists to increase traffic safety and reduce risks associated with traffic crashes. As 2016 winds down, traffic operations experts worry about disturbing statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that indicate a dramatic increase in traffic crash deaths and injuries. While traffic deaths of responders and motorists dropped from 2004 to 2015, the dramatic increase in only one year of deaths on roadways shocked those engaged in making the community safe.  Between 2014 and 2015, roadway deaths rose by 7.2%, or the largest 1-year increase in 50 years.  Furthermore, NHTSA data from the first half of 2016 indicate that this will be even a worse year, with 10% increase in deaths over the already inflated 2015 numbers from the same time period.

FHWA and its partner associations representing all major responder disciplines engaged in TIM are issuing a “Call for Action” to fire, rescue, law enforcement, private and fire-based EMS professionals, safety service patrols, towers, transportation and public works crews, traffic management center staffs, traffic media and other Public Safety professionals to work with their communities to improve responses and motorist actions after a crash.

This “Call for Action” requests that TIM responders:

  • work together to improve responses and unified command at crash sites;
  • inform motorists of their responsibilities and what to do after a crash;
  • provide awareness to their agencies and government groups about the importance of Traffic incident responses to the safety of the community and the need to reduce congestion;
  • ensure transportation planners integrate TIM efforts into their plans, like State Highway Safety Plans and Metropolitan Transportation Plans;
  • prevent budget cuts in the budgets of each TIM responder organization and inform officials about the risk associated with such cuts;
  • educate new drivers (youth or new immigrants) and court-ordered re-education of licensed drivers about the importance of resisting temptation to be a “D” Driver:
  • Distracted
  • Drunk
  • Drugged
  • Drowsy
  • Down-right Dangerous
  • collaborate with traffic reporters, the media—including social media like Waze—to quickly identify crashes and provide motorists with alternate routes to avoid complicating the crash area, leading to secondary crashes; and
  • conduct a local or Regional ceremony in conjunction with the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on November 19, 2017.

Call for Action applies to all TIM responders and support entities, including—fire, rescue, law enforcement, private and fire-based EMS professionals, safety service patrols, towers, transportation and public works crews, traffic management center staffs, traffic media and other Public Safety professionals to work with their communities to improve responses and motorist actions after a crash.


Those interested in participating to plan for the National events and to help pull together a Traffic Incident Response Week tool kit.  Also, check back occasionally to the National TIM Network site or  join the National TIM Network and ask to participate on the Traffic Incident Response Week work group.  (See the National TIM webpage for instructions.)


FHWA, the TIM Network and other collaborators will support your efforts:

  • host monthly teleconferences to offer a means to share ideas and feature guest presenters
    • to partner with on grassroots outreach (such as the FEMA Program Manager for the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), AmeriCorps, Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Local or Tribal Technical Assistance Programs (LTAPs/TTAPs), etc.)
    • to discuss efforts that occurred during the 2016 pre-launch activities.

The first session will be advertised shortly and will include the State DOTs and towers who held sessions this year.

  • collect and post materials that may be useful in other efforts, such as a series of Public Service Announcements on issues such as Move Over and Move It (or Driver Removal) laws, brochure samples, visor cards, canned press releases, social media suggestions/language, and other products that might work as you establish materials for your State and area in preparation for the Traffic Incident Response Week November 13 to 17, 2017. The website to pull products from this web address:


FHWA, the TIM Network and its partners strongly believe that (1)  public awareness must become the foundation of TIM safety and quick clearance; (2) all TIM responders must take responsibility for partnering with community groups to educate motorists about how to respond when they are in a crash; (3) continuous work toward the National  goal of training to all responders to traffic crashes in safer and better clearance, (4) better partnering by responders of different disciplines on and off site and collaboration with traffic reporters will improve responses and reduce secondary crashes—or 20% of all crashes, while providing better alternate routes around the crash site; and (5) effective, safe use of technology are the keys to safer crash operations sites and faster road clearance. Change is possible if we combine efforts and work toward the first Traffic Incident Response Week with a renewed commitment to reduce traffic deaths and injuries and better use knowledge and skills to clean up an incident quickly.


“Wet Lab” trains Omaha area police to detect impairment and gain convictions.

Traffic Forum by Jim McGee


Check out the link below for a video from the Iowa State Patrol!


Check out the link below for the Arizona Fire Districts webpage for news, updates, and more!


For those attending the TRB Annual Meeting, you may be interested in these activities of the Regional TIM Subcommittee of the TRB Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Committee:

TIM Workshop

Workshop 132: How Traffic Incident Management Can Strengthen Transportation Systems Management and Operations Programs: Identifying Gaps and Research Needs

January 8, 2017, 9 AM to 12 PM

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) programs fit under the broader topic of TSMO. Although TIM can be implemented as a stand-alone program, it can also be part of a broader TSMO implementation that includes a variety of tools, such as decision support systems or integrated corridor management programs. The workshop will include presentations and discussion of how TIM supports TSMO programs and identification of gaps and research needs. The workshop will be divided into the broad topics of: Integrating TIM in TSMO Plans and Programs; Using TIM to Support Decision Support Systems; and Role of TIM in Integrated Corridor Management. Brief presentations will be followed by facilitated group discussion.


Regional TIM Subcommittee Meeting

January 9, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM


If you have questions about the Regional TSMO TIM Subcommittee, please contact Co-Chairs Eileen Singleton ( or Pat Noyes (


In the News of TIM

Maryland: Deputy struck while assisting a disabled vehicle


Georgia: Henry County PD officer struck on I-75 while responding to accident

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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