The Responder July 2017

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer so far.  It looks like it is going to be a long hot one for many of us.  As predicted, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is up.  And with that, more crashes. Unfortunately, that has meant more injuries and deaths to responders. I know that this edition is rather long, but I wanted to provide some important information to the Network.

I added the acronym for Vehicle Miles Traveled above because of the alphabet soup world that we live in.  I read these acronyms and abbreviations and often wonder if I need to learn a new language.  I have become accustomed to this working in this environment, but sometimes I get confused, too.  Not only do I ask, “what does that mean”, I wonder “what does that mean to me”.  I imagine I am not the only one.


So, I thought I would list some of the most common acronyms and abbreviations, their meanings and what they mean to us as responders:

FHWA – Federal Highway Administration – From the FHWA website, “The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides stewardship over the construction, maintenance and preservation of the Nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. FHWA also conducts research and provides technical assistance to state and local agencies in an effort to improve safety, mobility, and livability, and to encourage innovation.”

As responders, we rely on FHWA for guidance for our safety and survival, assistance with needed resources and training, and they provide funding for many of the projects that responders are involved in.

NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – From the NHTSA website, “Our mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic, crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement.”

As responders, we rely on NHTSA for assistance with research, safety programs and projects and funding to improve our safety and the safety of other roadway users.

USDOT – United States Department of Transportation – From the USDOT website, “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”

Both FHWA and NHTSA are a part of the USDOT.  As you can see from the mission statements of all three, we rely on them heavily to keep our personnel as safe as we can. 

In addition, as responders we are all included in the category of Traffic Operations.  We are all tasked with providing a safe and efficient transportation system for our customers.

TSM &O – (TIZMO) – Transportation Systems Management & Operations –  From the FHWA website, “Several regions in the United States have found it useful to develop a plan focused on transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O) in the region. The plans are often then used as either an addendum to the metropolitan transportation plan (MTP) or provide input to the overall plan in terms of operations goals, objectives, performance measures, strategies, and projects or programs. During the development of a TSM&O plan, management and operations stakeholders and planners work together to define a common vision for transportation system operations in the region, develop operations objectives to guide the selection of M&O strategies, and identify performance measures that will enable them to track progress toward their objectives. Participants also develop strategies and potential projects or programs to reach those objectives. They then seek out resources to support the projects often by working within the region’s planning and programming processes.

As responders, it is important to know that everything we do on the roadways is a part of the TSM & O plan, if there is one, in our area.  Having this in mind, this will help guide to resources and information to make our jobs safer.

MUTCD – Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices – From the FHWA website, “The traffic control devices (TCD) are very critical for the safe and efficient transportation of people and goods. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), by setting minimum standards and providing guidance, ensures uniformity of traffic control devices across the nation. The use of uniform TCDs (messages, location, size, shapes, and colors) helps reduce crashes and congestion, and improves the efficiency of the surface transportation system.

The MUTCD provides us with the recommendation and requirements that will improve the safety of responders.  Most responders are unaware of MUTCD until receiving TIM training.  The MUTCD contains a lot of information that, as responders, we may not be interested in on a daily basis.  However, both Parts 6D and 6I contain information that is critical to our survival.

ITS – Intelligent Transportation Systems – This typically refers to the cameras, message boards, detection systems, and other electronic/automated devices that are used to gather and distribute information on the roadways.

Although we usually think of ITS as being computerized, electronic, highly technical and/or automated, ITS is still very much a people business.  If we don’t work together and share the information from ITS, it is just a bunch of stuff on the roadways.

TMC or TOC – Traffic Management Center or Traffic Operations Center – This is typically where information is gathered and shared regarding roadway conditions, incidents, etc.  These centers are a critical part of ITS.

The centers may have access to cameras and message boards on the roadways.  They are usually tasked with providing information to stakeholders and the public regarding our roadways.  This is a very critical role that is vital to our survival.  It is essential that, as responders, we keep the TMC or TOC updated regarding conditions at incident scenes.  We must provide currently, timely and correct information to motorists.  Keep in mind that, bad information is worse than no information.

CV and AV – Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles – This is the future of transportation.  I may not be correct stating just the future as these are already here.

From the Applied Technology and Traffic Analysis Program website, at the Center for Traffic Safety and Operations at the University of Maryland, I have included the definitions of each.

Connected Vehicle – “CVs are capable of communicating with each other (Vehicle-to-Vehicle or V2V), with roadside infrastructure, such as traffic control signals (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure or V2I and vice versa), or with other devices, such as mobile phones carried by road users (V2X).”

Autonomous Vehicle – “AVs are vehicles where some aspects of a safety-critical control function such as steering, throttle control or braking occurs without direct driver input. They use onboard sensors, cameras, GPS and telecommunications to obtain and analyze information using complex computer algorithms, and respond appropriately by effectuating control in safety-critical situations.”

SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) [4] and NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration) [5] define five levels of autonomous vehicles.  For information on this topic, I have included a link.

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As responders, we will find ourselves more and more involved with both CV and AV technology.  It is important that we embrace this technology and prepare for it.  This will be a game changer for all of us.

NTIMC – National Traffic Incident Management Coalition – This was multi-disciplinary partnership forum spanning the public safety and transportation communities to coordinate experiences, knowledge, practices, and ideas. NTIMC is committed to safer and more efficient management of all incidents that occur on, or substantially affect, the nation’s roadways in order to:

  • Enhance the safety of on-scene responders and of motorists passing or approaching a roadway incident.
  • Strengthen services to incident victims and to stranded motorists.
  • Reduce incident delay and costs to the traveling public and commercial carriers.

This was where TIM really started to be discussed and moved forward.  We owe much to the group that started the work on TIM education and training.

NUG – National Unified Goad for TIM – From the TIM Network website, “The NTIMC was highly successful in linking the transportation and public safety communities in numerous ways. The creation of the National Unified Goal (NUG) for TIM in the fall of 2007 may have been one of its most successful accomplishments. The NUG’s three major objectives are responder safety; safe, quick clearance; and prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

The NUG achieves these three major objectives through 18 strategies. Key strategies include recommended practices for multidisciplinary TIM operations and communications; multidisciplinary TIM training; goals for performance and progress; promotion of beneficial technologies; and partnerships to promote driver awareness.

The NUG laid out the necessary steps to improve the safety of responders, and others, on our highways and reduction of incident related congestion.  Again, we owe a lot to those members of the NTIMC who worked to craft the NUG.


I know that there are more acronyms and abbreviations that people wonder about, I know I do.  I will include them in future editions as I think of them.  Many of you may wonder why I included some of these in this article.  When we conduct the TIM training classes across the country, most are unfamiliar with the meaning of the acronym or abbreviation.  We must do a better job of familiarizing our personnel with the information that is necessary for their survival; physically, emotionally and financially.

As a reminder to all, don’t drive distracted.  Always use your PPE, including high visibility retro-reflective garments when working in traffic.  Be the best example that you can be, even when no one is watching.

Take every opportunity to promote the value of good TIM to those you work with, and when you have an opportunity to promote it to others.  Tell them about the dangers of working in roadways, and introduce them to TIM best practices.

Good effective TIM is essential to our survival.  Everyone goes home, every day.

Stay safe and take care of each other. Our lives depend on it.


Rusty James, TIM Network Liaison



View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

In 2016 a total of 94 locations completed a TIM SA for inclusion in the national analysis  FHWA Self Assessment for Traffic Incident Management 

A few of the questions are below. How would  your agency answer ?    

Is there a formal TIM program that is supported by Multidiscipline, Multi- agency team or taskforce, which meets regularly to discuss and plan for TIM activities?

Is the importance of TIM understood by all TIM stakeholders and supported by multidiscipline, multi-agency agreements or memorandums of understanding (MOUs)?

Are all disciplines and agencies participating in on-going TIM enhancement activities/efforts?

For incidents involving a fatality, is there a procedure for the removal of the deceased prior to Medical Examiner arrival?

Are there policies or procedures in place for signal timing changes to support traffic management during incident response?

Are there pre-planned detour and/or alternate routes identified and shared between TIM stakeholders?

Do towing and recovery procedures/rotation list policies deploy resources based on type/severity of incident?


TIM Network

TIM NETWORK  Facebook    National Traffic Incident Management Coalition
Responder Safety Learning Network
NFFF Fire Learning Network
2017 Killed in the Line of Duty   *all causes*

Police Officers      68
Firefighters          51
EMS      ?              03
Towers  ?             04

 Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

We all know that safe and efficient TIM is a Team effort.  The management of incidents large and small includes support from a number of disciplines at all levels of management. Sort of along the thinking of the old expression “It takes a Village”.  Paul Jodoin, one of our partners at FHWA, passed the following “open letter” that Chief Rhodes Fire Chief of the Cunningham Fire Protection District in Colorado wrote to his partners after an intense incident. Chief Rhodes not only expresses his thanks but tells a story of what TIM is all about! Please take a few minutes to  read the Chief’s open letter. It applies to you!  – Rusty James, TIM Liaison

You Should Be Proud,

My comments are from the perspective of a firefighter with 4 ½ decades of responding to emergency, including a dozen or more tanker incidents, the largest MCI in the State’s history, some of the largest fires, as the Chair of the North Central Homeland Security Region, a member of the Traffic Incident Management Working Group, past chair of the IAFC Emergency Management Committee, IAFC Board member, and proud Colorado native. Now in bullet point form, why you should be proud.

  • The Honorable Governor Hickenlooper- Governor you appointed two solid people into positions that directly affected this incident Executive Directors Shailen P. Bhatt (CDOT) and Stan Hilkey (DPS). Through their personnel and their direction, multiple programs and projects affected the outcome of this incident in a positive manner and the citizen of our State.
  • Executive Director Shailen- First I will note your hands-on style of management and you rallied your troops at the incident. Leadership of this type inspires good people to step up to greatness. I spoke with many of your people on scene. They knew what they had to do and were eager to make the impossible happen. Reopened a heavily damaged interstate highway overnight. Your people and your contractors ROCKED!!! This comes on the heels of the “Move Over” promotion and the Traffic Incident Management System (TIMS) program, and having all facets of CDOT work in unison with responders, media, and the public.
  • Executive Director Hilkey- You have had direct influence on multiple divisions under your command. CSP is a leader from law enforcement in the TIMS program. Your mop and glow group, sorry Troopers from the Hazardous Materials Unit, were team players with the other Haz-Mat technicians on scene. Emergency Management continued to update the region because this incident affected thousands of people. The Division of Fire prevention and Control was ready to support.
  • Traffic Incident Management Working Group- San Lee, you have led a collision of metro agencies with your contractors that has changed how we do business on our highways. We are more global in our thinking. Responder safety is improving, scene efficiency can now be measured in a consistent fashion, and we focus on getting people where they need to go while providing them with useful information. All the agencies that have worked together in planning and training proved their worth last Wednesday.
  • Federal Highway Administration- Eva, you and the FHWA leadership team have given us good direction and support.
  • Honorable Mayor Rakowsky- Your police department and public works personnel stepped up to handle the “Big One”. Greenwood Village is a part of the TIMS team along I-25.
  • Traffic Management Centers- CDOT and all the municipal centers that put up messages on the sign boards and worked through your control systems to get people home was an awesome effort. People may not realize what you do for us every day to help traffic flow.
  • Chief Baker- South Metro Fire Rescue performed very well. It was an honor for CFPD and the our fire departments through our aid agreements to support your fine people on this incident. Solid attack and management of the incident.
  • Chief Jackson- Your command staff involvement in TIMS and prior exercises and projects paid dividends Wednesday for Greenwood Village.
  • Unified Incident Commanders- You guys did a great on this incident. Incident Action Plan (IAP) that I saw was public and responder safety, extinguish the fire, handle the hazmat, rehab the highway, and make the world normal again. Solid team work from all of the troops on scene. Kevin, I know that a cigar in your mouth is part of your image, but thanks for not smoking Wednesday. Toby, call for the bubbles anytime. Dustin, you and Eric were strong players.
  • Emergency Management- Sheriff Walcher/Director Klein your team working with CDOT and the State EOC got a lot of information out to the media/public. Handled and will continue to handle details of this incident that few will ever know about. This was on top of an already very busy day. Thank you.
  • North Central Region/Urban Area Security Initiative- The efforts of the entire working group paid off for the public on Wednesday. The meetings, the trainings, exercises, working together showed it worth on I-25. Your involvement directly or indirectly made a difference.
  • State Associations- Colorado Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, State Fire Chiefs, and Emergency Managers your working together in so many projects helped John & Jane Q Citizen Wednesday into Thursday. We have done it at fires, floods, tornados, major events, and now on a major interstate closure. The efforts of working together showed the metal of your members. Thanks for the extra load this incident put on your people and your jurisdiction.
  • Metro Denver Media- Your coverage kept people informed, gave them details of the incident that they would not otherwise have easy access to, helped redirect motorists, kept people calm when temper were easy to flare, and told the human side of this incident. A driver who probably saved lives by holding his rig to the jersey barrier, true heroes that ran into danger to save another, people who stopped traffic from driving through spilled fuel and debris from explosions, and the herculean effort to handle the incident and reopen the highway for thousands of people. PIOs you earned your keep on this one. Amy and Eric, thanks for being so inclusive. Thank you all for including the “Move Over Law” into your news casts.
  • The Public- Last but not least, everyone that kept their cool, was courteous to others, and dealt with the inconvenience of the interstate closure, you should be proud of yourself too.


This is by no means is a comprehensive perspective of everything that relates to Wednesday’s incident on I-25, but it is a positive view of your efforts and actions in relationship to the incident.


Be proud, be very proud of yourself. I am proud of you.

 Chief Rhodes

The LEL Traffic Stop

In the news of TIM 

Kentucky: Waco firefighter struck by truck

Michigan: Woman Faces Charges After Detroit-Area Officer Struck by Car


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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