The Responder August 2017

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

August 2017

I start this edition out with a quote from the 1976 movie “Network”.

“I am mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”

During the last month, I have seen far too many reports of incidents involving responders struck, and many close calls.  No discipline is exempt from the dangers or the statistics.  We have got to take a stand and stop this.

We need all of you to take this same stance.  We can no longer have the mindset that these things just happen.  It’s just traffic, these things happen.  They don’t have to happen.

In the May edition, I made mention of comments made by my close friend (when I present with him I call him my Dad just to get him worked up), Dave Corp, who is a Law Enforcement Liaison with the Kansas Department of Transportation.  If these close calls, injuries and deaths were the result of shootings, house fires, or other incidents that we respond to, there would be outcry.  Where is the outcry?  There is none, these are “just traffic” incidents.

I would also like to quote another close friend, Chuck Yorks, regarding close calls.  Close calls are just that; they are not near misses.  Near misses indicates that they were nearly missed; that means that they were hit.  Let’s all use the same terminology and I think for now, “close calls” is the best terminology being used.

We are all safety officers at the scene of incidents on our roadways.  That means that we are empowered to stop any unsafe actions, and make the scene as safe as possible.  When we see personnel without high visibility retro-reflective garments, we should tell them to get their vests on.  When we see improper traffic control, or personnel unnecessarily exposed to the dangers of traffic, we need to do what is necessary to fix the situation.  When we see emergency equipment that is not doing all that it could to protect responders, we need to re-position it so that we can all be as safe as we can be.

In short, we should all be each other’s big brother or sister.  Our lives depend on it.

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with, or are following the American Towman Spirit Ride across the country.  The ride started in late spring and is making its way across the country.  A casket is being transported by tow companies across our nation.   The “Spirit” Casket pays tribute to those towers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while working America’s roadways. I have been asked to speak on behalf of the Gresham family who own GT Tow in the Kansas City area.  Their son, Blake Gresham, was killed by an impaired driver who did not slow down and did not move over.  Blake was towing a customer’s vehicle from the highway in the Kansas City area.

I am honored that the towing industry has asked me to speak on this occasion.  I hope to continue to convey the message, “Everyone Goes Home”.  And, there should never be a time in this country that we leave a tow operator by themselves on the highways.  They are our family and we must make sure that they are protected.

I have included a link to the Spirit Ride and their Facebook page.  I encourage all to follow this ride as it proceeds across our country.  Be sure to check the schedule for events in your area and participate.  Let’s all show the towing industry the respect that they deserve.


Here are the links:

Spirit Ride:


Facebook page: 


I have a couple of other requests for the membership.  First, please buckle up and make sure that your children are properly restrained in child safety seats.  This includes police officers, firefighters and other responders.  There is no valid excuse for not wearing seatbelts, whether on duty or off.

Make sure that you monitor children and pets in hot cars.  Check your cars when you get out to make sure that you are not leaving either children or pets in hot cars.  It seems that we have heard of an increasing number of these incidents.

Please do all that you can, every day, to promote TIM and Traffic Safety.  With the lack of consistent driver education in our country, we have all become instructors.  Take every opportunity to tell people what we expect of them.  Don’t miss an opportunity.

I think that there are a couple of quotes that we should all live by that will help us in our work.

“Do the Right Thing, At the Right Time, For the Right Reason – Even when no one is watching.”

“If you do this job properly, there is nothing more noble that you will do with your life.” Andrew Jacobs, Sr.

I have challenged everyone to promote membership in the TIM Network.  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.  I have included a link.

Stay safe, take care of each other and be sure to tell those you care about how important they are to you.


Rusty James, TIM Network Liaison

Phone:  816-206-8545



View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

Below  are  3 of 55  Best Practice answers on the 2017  FHWA TIM Capability Maturity Self -Assessment .
Regional Planning for Traffic Incident Management  is routine and conduced by Metropolitan Planning Organizations , Council of Governments, Transportation Commissions, DOTs and Public Safety agencies. TIM needs are routinely and proactively discussed in multidisciplinary settings and directly linked with regional planning process. There is TIM line item in funding allocation to pay for TIM strategies to address identified needs. (7)
Roadway Clearance Time is measured, reported, and tied to system or region-wide outcomes such as travel time reliability or congestion/delay.(17)
A policy is in place for the adjustment of signal timings during incident response. The policy is understood by all response partners and responsibilities are widely known. The policy is regularly reviewed and updated . (54)
The purpose of the Traffic Incident Management Self Assessment (TIMSA) is to provide a formal process for State and local transportation, public safety and private sector partners to collaboratively assess their traffic incident management programs and identify opportunities for improvement.

FHWA publishes an annual National Summary report 2004-2016  on the TIMSA aggregating data from all urban areas   FHWA Self Assessment for Traffic Incident Management 


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      73
Firefighters          61
EMS      ?              06
Towers  ?             05

 Eric Reddeck
National Fallen Firefighers Foundation
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate


“Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in First Half of 2017”


Arizona targets wrong-way driving with unique tech program

According to the AZ Department of Public Safety, “956 incidents involving wrong-way drivers have been reported so far this year.” Check out the article from ABC news below to find out what Arizona transportation officials are doing about it.


Phoenix fire dispatcher dies after I-17 wrong-way crash”

Please see the article below on Megan Lange, an AZ dispatcher whose life was taken much too soon due to a wrong-way crash.


Check out the latest edition of Oregon’s TIM Trend newsletter!

TIM Trend newsletter June 2017


See below for the press release from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds regarding TIM activities


In the news of TIM 

Texas: Car slams into Fort Worth officer during traffic stop – and he survives


Wisconsin: 2 deputies at traffic stop run to avoid being struck by suspected impaired driver


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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