NDOT: Emergency Responders Recognized for Collaboration and Cooperation
Today, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), together with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), held a ceremony to celebrate the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between first responders in Buffalo, Hall, Kearney, and Adams Counties. Formalized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) partnerships in Central Nebraska support the group’s progress in moving TIM initiatives forward to improve safety, reliability, and efficiency on the roadway. This marks a major milestone in the NDOT program, which has been working for over a decade to advance TIM in targeted areas.
At the ceremony, The Governor’s Office, NSP, NDOT, and local first responders spoke about the critical work our responders do to keep roadways safe in Nebraska. “NDOT and NSP already coordinate closely with many of our regional partners across the state to work to improve traffic flow and respond to incidents quickly”, said Colonel Bolduc. “Today, we celebrate continued and new partnerships with our local responders with our Traffic Incident Management Program will help continue to foster community growth and training for our responders.”
“NDOT is proud to be here today with so many of our partners in safety to celebrate this memorandum of understanding between first responders.” Said Wes Wahlgren, NDOT District 4 Engineer. “The TIM program has brought additional collaboration and stronger relationships with our responding agencies. With safety ever present, the principles we learn together help us prevent additional tragedy on our highways.” “Every state employee deserves the right to a safe work environment and to return safely to their family at the end of their shift,” said NAPE Executive Director Justin Hubly. “Without the cooperation of the motoring public, the safety of our members is not guaranteed.”
NDOT’s TIM Program is focused on the safety of roadway users and the professionals who respond to traffi incidents. Incident responders’ risk of injury or death is constant. According to the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), traffic crashes and “struck-by” incidents continue to be a leading cause of on-duty injuries and deaths for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and towing and recovery professionals. NDOT’s TIM Program brings emergency professionals together and promotes best practices so incidents like crashes can be cleared as quickly and safely as possible.
“As responders, our priority is safety. Safety of our people, safety of victims of incidents and the safety of the traveling public, “said Hastings Fire and Rescue Chief Brad Starling. “The TIM program has helped bring our safety partners together to highlight safe work and educate the public on moving over and slowing down when approaching incidents.”
This group of responders in Central Nebraska has met regularly over the last three years to advance TIM and has built and fostered relationships resulting in an MOU, which pledges that TIM partners across the area will continue to work cooperatively towards safe and quick incident clearance. Participants include federal, state and local transportation agencies, law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency communications, tow operators, emergency managers and others.
“Traffic Incident Management is a key tool that helps us as responders address the scene quickly and render appropriate aid,” said Kearney Police Chief Bryan Waugh. “We are proud to partner with the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska Department of Transportation to continue to bring best practices to the Tri-City area.”
Takeaway TIM Tips:
Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) was last week, November –13-17 [#CRSW], and NDOT highlighted
how they are working throughout Nebraska to keep our roadway users and crash responders safe! It’s called
Traffic Incident Management – TIM for short. When traffic incidents like crashes occur, TIM training helps first
responders clear the scene safely and quickly to keep traffic moving. We’re all in this together, let’s work together
to keep our highways safe and flowing.
Traffic incidents are the leading cause of death for emergency responders. For every minute a primary crash
continues to be a hazard, the risk of a secondary crash goes up nearly 3% - increasing risk to drivers’ lives and
our first responders’ safety.
If you're in a minor crash where no one is seriously injured, you should stay in your vehicle and move it to the side
of the road to a safe location. This helps keep you, other drivers, and emergency personnel assisting you safe.
Every minute a lane is blocked causes four extra minutes of delay. Traffic incidents are a key cause of
unexpected congestion. Americans burn more than 2.8 billion gallons of gas each year due to incident-related
Public messaging is a critical component in keeping roadway users and crash responders safe. NDOT, public
information officers, and the media provide important messages to the traveling public, including detours, Move
Over Slow Down laws, and distracted driving campaigns.
For Nebraska’s Move Over, Slow Down laws, if you see emergency or road assistance vehicles stopped on the
side of the road, move over and/or slow down as you pass. This keeps our roadside responders safe.
NDOT wants all roadway users to join them by accepting the Buckle Up Phone Down Challenge. Whether it's
down the street or across the country, buckling up and putting your phone down are two of the most impactful
actions any driver can take to prevent crashes or reduce injury if a crash occurs. This challenge helps protect
yourself, as well as your family and community. We’re all in this together.