The Responder March 2016

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

We now find ourselves at the end of winter and welcoming springtime.  For many, it is “finally” spring is here.  Winter was mild for much of the country, or milder than some have been.  The east coast was hit with record snowfall in January.  There were incidents around the country in which responders were injured.  Winter weather and road conditions are hazardous for responders and for motorists.

Historically, states spend considerable time preparing for winter weather conditions to make the roadways as safe as they can be in wintry weather conditions.  When inclement weather conditions are expected DOT personnel train and practice  to keep the roadways open.  Law enforcement and fire personnel prepare for the increased numbers of crashes and incidents involving life safety.  The towing industry prepares for the number of requests for service that come with winter weather.  The shoulders on the highways are cleared of disabled and abandoned vehicles.  We do all of this because we are acutely aware of the dangers to responders and other motorists.  And, for the most part, everyone works well together and everyone does a great job.  Relationships between the disciplines have improved as we have begun to train and practice together.  I think that the SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responders training has played a large role in the strengthening of these relationships.

Moving forward following winter weather we should look back at the things that have worked well, and take the opportunity to improve where we can.  It is known that even vehicles abandoned on the shoulder of the highways have a significant impact on traffic flow.  When winter weather is expected, effort is made to remove these vehicles as quickly as possible.  This is done for a number of reasons, safety, ability to plow shoulders, visibility, and congestion, etc.  These abandoned vehicles pose the same issues when the weather is good.  The longer these vehicles are allowed to sit abandoned on the highways, the greater the likelihood that they will cause a crash or be vandalized.  At the very least they cause congestion on already congested highways.  We should learn from the experience of bad weather and remove abandoned vehicles as quickly as possible no matter the weather condition.

In the last couple of years there has been much improvement on the part of responders in the use of high visibility retroreflective apparel when working in the roadway.  While the usage rate is unclear, from personal experience I know that more and more responders are wearing high visibility apparel.  This too, can be attributed to the information and training provided in the SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responders course.  As more responders learn of the benefits of the use of this important apparel, and the consequences of not using it, the usage rate will undoubtedly continue to improve.  Our lives depend on it.

While we work hard to improve the safety of responders on our highways, we continue to lose personnel at an alarming rate.  Responders perform their duties in what they know to be an inherently unsafe environment.  Everyone must work to make incident scenes safer and help to make sure that everyone goes home.  We must protect each other.  There should never be a time when any responder, no matter the discipline, is left unprotected on the roadways.  I receive information from personnel across the country who have changed the way that they conduct their duties to protect other responders.  I have never been prouder to be a part of the responder “family”.

There are changes on the horizon for the Responder, and for the TIM Network.  The changes will help to improve the dissemination of important information and availability valuable resources.  The TIM Network continues to grow; the challenge from last month still stands.  Everyone who reads this is challenged to forward it and urge others to join the TIM Network.  There is really no reason that the membership in the TIM Network should not at least double by the next Responder.  Please take this opportunity to increase the membership of our network.

Remember, we are all part of the transportation industry, in particular, Traffic Operations.  It will take everyone to insure that our country continues to enjoy the privilege of  safe, reliable and efficient transportation.  As a part of Traffic Operations it is our responsibility to reach out to the public and provide information regarding incident scenes and work zones.  Please take every opportunity that you can get to teach those who use our highways.


Rusty James

TIM Network Liaison

View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

There is an accident on the interstate SSP, Police, EMS, Fire, Towing Recovery all respond. Traffic is controlled, Fire has checked for hazards, EMS is providing patient care. EMS advises that one victim is a  fatality. Living patients are being transported to the hospital. Accident Reconstruction and Medical Examiner are on the way to the scene.  Traffic is backing up and being diverted and your regional highway system has  become a parking lot…….. Has your state and regional traffic incident management committees worked out the best practice for your region with a police for fatalities?

 2016 Killed in the Line of Duty   *all causes*

Police Officers   26
Firefighters       14
EMS                   03
Towers               03

TIM Network
TIM NETWORK  Facebook    National Traffic Incident Management Coalition
FHWA Traffic Incident Management
Responder Safety Learning Network
NFFF Fire Learning Network
IACP * Police Officer Safety
Towing and Recovery Association of America
Safe Highways
IAFF Health, Safety, Medicine
NFPA 1500 Health and Safety

Passing of Highway Emergency Response Operations – HERO Operator

On March 14, 2016 Highway Emergency Response Operations, HERO Operator Moses King, succumbed to injuries he received while working at an accident scene in August of 2015.  HERO Operator King was attempting to protect those who were working at, and those involved in the accident, he was struck by a vehicle and critically injured.   HERO Operator King had been a part of the HERO Unit since September of 2014.

“HERO Operator Moses King gave his life while “Protecting our Protectors”. As Fire, EMS and the Police were on the scene working the accident.”

Our hearts go out to the family and co-workers of HERO Operator Moses King.  The services that are provided across the country by Safety Service Patrol personnel are essential to the safety of all responders and motorists.  These personnel are true heroes.


The Forgotten Queue

William Benson: Incident Management and Emergency Management Specialist Gannett Fleming 


Figure 1

The national unified goal (NUG) for traffic incident management (TIM) focuses on: Responder Safety;  Safe, quick clearance; and Prompt, reliable, inter-operable communications for traffic events that create congestion on our nation’s highways. We train TIM personnel to Identify, Verify, Dispatch, Arrive on Scene, Work the Traffic Incident, Open the travel lanes, Leave the Scene, and to identify when travel conditions return to historic normal.  An area of opportunity for TIM responders is to know when/how to handle the trapped queue traffic.

Figure 2


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received a report on February 13, 2016 at 0945 hours reference a multi-vehicle crash with multiple fatalities on Interstate 78 west bound at mile post 7.4 Bethel Township Lebanon County.  TIM responders arrived at the incident location and the dash board survey identified: over fifty commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles involved, seventy three people who were injured and needed to be transported to surrounding hospitals, hazardous materials on the roadway, and three fatalities.  Responders immediately setup a command post and a unified command was established.  Incident Command broke down responders’ responsibilities into caring for the injured parties of the crash, and early on realized that it would take hours to open the roadway.  Commanders received situational awareness that there was a two mile trapped queue and realized that these trapped persons would need to be taken care of as well.  Transportation personnel along with law enforcement removed all passenger vehicles and single tractor trailers from the queue by 1245 hours.  Truck tractors pulling tandem trailers were left in the queue and transportation officials ensured that these trucks were full of fuel and drivers were given food and water.  All lanes of Interstate 78 were open at 0654 hours on 02/14/2016.  Pennsylvania’s TIM responders did an awesome job taking care of this forgotten trapped queue.


TIM procedures highlighted on this event:


  • Quickly identifying the event
  • Quickly verifying the event
  • Dispatching needed TIM Partners
  • Proper Dash Board Survey
  • Establishing an Incident Command Post
  • Life Safety/ Injured Parties, Trapped Queue
  • Information Sharing to all partners
  • Quickly closing road and detouring traffic
  • Opening travel lanes as soon as possible
  • Returning traffic back to historic normal

Transportation and Public Safety Update

Kimberly “Kim” C. Vasconez, Team Leader

Traffic Incident & Events Management, Office of Transportation Operations, FHWA


Please read the attached article by Kim Vasconez concerning the capacity of Traffic Incident Management (TIM) and recent updates.

March 25 2016 Transportation and Public Safety Letter


Trauma Response Annex 

We would like to thank the working group responsible for developing this annex, for their hard work and enthusiasm. 

Working Group:

Jim Warriner (AZDOT)

Emanuel Robinson (Westat)

Lyn Nelson (Marquette Alger County EMS Medical Control Authority, MGH Police & Emergency Preparedness)

Sarah Roque (DC Fire and EMS)

Michael Roberson (GDOT Incident Management Unit, H.E.R.O.)

Kimberly Vasconez (FHWA)

Joey Sagal (FHWA)

Chief Tim Taylor (FHWA)

Glenn Blackwelder (Utah DOT)

Kelley Pecheux (AEM Corp)

Bill Benson (Gannett Fleming)

Erin Arva (Gannett Fleming)


Please read the following attached annex on Trauma Response.

Annex Trauma Response



In the News of TIM

Pennsylvania: Officers get training aimed at reducing traffic deaths


Tow-truck drivers pay homage to comrade killed in bridge hit-and-run – See more at:

Why I don’t want to be a TMC Operator

By: Leo van den Berg

National Association of State EMS Officials

Washington Update, March 2016


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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