MassDOT and its public safety partners with support from the Federal Highway Administration this week launched the 2014 First Responder Training Program to help improve traffic incident response. The program began on April 30 at the State Police Academy in New Braintree.
Clearing incidents quickly with a well coordinated multi-disciplinary team of first responders and transportation personnel is an important means of reducing the risk of secondary incidents and congestion delays.
Nationally, every 3 days a public works employee is struck and killed in a roadway work zone. A towing professional is killed every six days. In the last two decades, nearly 300 police officers have been struck and killed on roadways. Each year 5 firefighters are killed on roadways.
Highway accidents are dangerous. An accident can become a major traffic incident, causing fatalities, injuring patrons and first responders, blocking the roadway for miles, degrading our transportation network, destroying property, spilling hazardous materials, stopping commerce, and degrading our quality of life.
During the opening of the 2014 program at the State Police Academy, 175 “future troopers” took part in a four hour training program taught by a team of State Police, MassDOT employees, fire and towing personnel. Each class is taught by statewide trainers from multiple disciplines who have been certified after participating in a two-day train the trainer program. The training program is comprehensive, covering statistics, terminology and standards, notification and response, arrival, and initial size-up. It also covers command responsibility, safety, patient care and investigation and concludes with traffic management, removal, termination, hands on activity, and situational awareness.
MassDOT has established an aggressive goal to train 600 first responders throughout the Commonwealth in 2014 from June through November in 18 different classes in strategic roadway corridors in the six highway districts. The audience includes local public works, fire, police, medical services, towing, transportation, environmental, and state law enforcement. Last year was the first year of the program and over 300 first responders received the training.
The program is managed by David Long, Traffic Incident Management Coordinator, at the Highway Operations Center, working with a Training Implementation Team that includes staff from MassDOT Traffic Engineering and Safety, Massachusetts State Police, Department of Fire Services, and other first responder organizations. First responder training ensures MassDOT can manage the state highway system safely and reliably, by making it resilient and able to recover quickly after a disruption of service.
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