Have you ever been stuck in traffic? If you’ve been driving for any length of time, and you’ve ever been to Atlanta, you have. Gordon County responders and other public safety officials recently underwent formalized training to learn how to minimize the reduction of traffic flow while working on the roadways.
Gordon County Fire-Rescue held the National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Course for their career employees as part of their required annual firefighter training hours during the month of February. Deputy Chief Byron Sutton and Division Chief of Training Blake Hodge facilitated the four-hour block of training at their Station 1 classroom. “We originally scheduled to teach the class every Thursday and Friday beginning on February 13 & 14,” said Chief Sutton, “however, due to the first snow event we encountered those days, we had to reschedule those two days and finished with those make-up classes last Friday, March 7.”
Three injury crashes occur every minute in the United States, putting nearly 39,000 emergency responders potentially in harm’s way every day. Congestion from these incidents can generate secondary crashes, increasing traveler delay and frustration. The longer responders remain at the scene, the greater the risk they, and the traveling public face.
This new national training program is designed to build a cadre of well-trained responders who can work together as a team in a coordinated manner, from the moment the first emergency call is made, to the correct deployment of response vehicles and equipment, to a safe work area using traffic control devices, to final scene clearance. Developed through the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is partnering with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to offer this training. SHRP2 research identified the best TIM practices, which were incorporated into a new, pilot-tested curriculum. This comprehensive curriculum uses a common set of practices and advanced standards across all responder disciplines.
“With such a large classroom, we decided since this course is for all responder disciplines, such as fire, ems, law enforcement, towers, transportation workers, basically anyone who could potentially be working in or around moving traffic, we would offer other agencies the opportunity to take the course with us, thus training as many responders as possible during the six class offerings,” said Chief Sutton. “We trained a total of 77 responders during the 6 class offerings. Coupled with the seventy some-odd responders we trained in Catoosa County back in October of 2013, I would say we are off to a very good start.”
“I would like to thank all the agencies from all around North Georgia who allowed their responders to come acquire this valuable training with us,” Chief Sutton said. “As we roll out the door on every incident on our roadways, our responders now have the knowledge to accomplish the objectives of responder safety, safe, quick clearance of the incident, all while continuing to move the rest of the motoring public down our roadways as safely as possible.”