Integrated Response Training Moves Online
Three injury crashes occur every minute in the United States, putting thousands of incident responders potentially in harm’s way every day. Congestion from these incidents often generates secondary crashes, further increasing traveler delay, frustration, and risk. Clearing traffic incidents effectively is critical to improving safety and reducing congestion delays on the Nation’s roadways.
To assist with this goal, the Federal Highway Administration, under the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), developed a National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training Program. This multidisciplinary curriculum helps ensure a well-coordinated response to traffic incidents that achieves faster clearance and improves safety for both responders and motorists. To supplement the training program, the National Highway Institute launched a Web-based course that can offer immediate training until a classroom course is available, or serve as a refresher. (For more information, see the TIM series in Public Roads, which includes “Clearing Crashes on Arterials” on page 30 in this issue as well as articles in the July/August 2013, November/December 2013, and July/August 2014 issues.)
Improving Incident Response
The national TIM responder training brings together police, firefighters, towing operators, medical personnel, and other incident responders to engage in interactive, hands-on exercises in incident resolution. Learning to coordinate response activities and optimize operations in the classroom is vital to responding effectively in the field and to building a unified national practice on incident management.
The online course provides first responders with a shared understanding of the requirements for safe, quick clearance of traffic incident scenes; prompt, reliable, and open communication; and motorist and responder safeguards. First responders learn how to operate more efficiently and how to better coordinate across disciplines.
“All TIM responders should take a classroom session if possible,” says Kimberly C. Vásconez, team leader for the Traffic Incident and Events Management team and director of the TIM program in FHWA’s Office of Operations. “However, many responders are located in remote or rural areas, or small to medium urban areas without easy access to on-location classes. The online course provides a valuable tool to train responders.”
Segmented into 10 modules, the training covers the national TIM program’s recommended procedures and techniques, including fundamentals and terminology, notification and sizing up the scene, safe vehicle positioning, command responsibilities, traffic management, telecommunicators, and special circumstances, such as crashes with fatalities or hazmat spills.
FHWA recommends that interested responders complete the following courses, offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as prerequisites to the TIM training: IS 700 – National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction; ICS 100 – Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS); and ICS 200 – ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents.
Reaching More Responders
The SHRP2 national TIM training program strengthens the incident management programs currently offered by response agencies and provides a common platform for training the responder community. The Web-based training does not replace the on-location training, explains James Austrich, TIM training program manager with FHWA’s Office of Operations. “This free, online training supplements the in-person experience,” he says, “by providing immediate training until a course is available in your area or by serving as refresher training after you attend an in-person event.”
Although NHI has begun charging for some Web-based courses, the TIM trainings--Web-based and classroom--remain free to all participants.
For more information, visit NHI’s Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov.
Kimberly Williams is a contractor for NHI.
Changes Underway to Web-based Training
On January 1, 2015, NHI began charging a small fee for select Web-based training courses. NHI continues to offer Web-based prerequisite courses and those supported by other organizations, such as the Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council and some program offices, at no cost. Courses will be free or cost $25 or $50. To see how much a specific Web-based training will cost, view the course details on the NHI Web site.
Participants who enroll in Web-based training will have access to the course for 6 months. After that time, a participant will need to register for the course again to access or complete the training.
Additional information, including frequently asked questions about the cost of Web-based training, is available on the NHI Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov.