IN THIS CASE STUDY YOU WILL LEARN:
- How the relationship between traffic crashes, incident response and clearance, as well as effective communications helped to drive the early success of Nevada’s TIM Program.
- Why the multi-agency TIM training helped participants find solutions to overcome communication issues.
- How the lessons learned in the TIM exercises were reflected in the response to a mass shooting.
The Nevada TIM Coalition was created in 2008 in partnership with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) and a variety of other local first responder agencies. The goal of the TIM Coalition was to develop and implement a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible.
The TIM program implemented the five steps to incident response:
- Detection & Reporting
- Triage & Analysis
- Containment and Neutralization
- Post-Incident Wrap Up
As implementation of these five steps became consistent, the TIM Coalition increased outreach and training opportunities. The purpose of this outreach was to understand best practices. Participants learned how to coordinate and collaborate more effectively to reduce congestion and improve mobility and operations of the road network and how each of these steps could be better implemented.
As the program grew, it became clear that the best opportunity for improvement was provided by participating in the Post-Incident Wrap Up and collaborating with Coalition members and first responders. Collaboration among the six TIM groups (Southern Nevada, Northern Nevada, Winnemucca, Elko, Ely and Tonopah) has helped to develop best practices and lessons learned, which can be applied on an everyday and every incident basis.
HANDS-ON TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT EXERCISE
Based on a growing desire to continue to improve the TIM process, the Nevada TIM Coalition held its first multi-agency TIM training over three days in May 2017. The goals of this training were to:
- Improve the overall understanding of a Unified Command Structure (UCS)
- Improve interagency coordination, cooperation, and communications
- Test the level of learned skills from TIM training and safe, quick clearance
The multi-disciplinary efforts included collaboration amongst 23 agencies consisting of local law enforcement, fire, tow operators, hazmat specialists, paramedics and emergency response personnel. The training included three different incidents: a work zone traffic control incident, a hazmat spill containment and response to a mass casualty major incident with fatalities.
The scenarios were staged live along a new unopened stretch of Interstate 11, and they were used to evaluate the overall response to the staged incident, including:
- Initial scene size-up
- Traffic management and control of the public
- Resource management among agencies
- Logistics such as positioning emergency vehicles, lighting, and safe, quick clearance
- Communications, cooperation and coordination with others working the incident
PLANNING AND EXECUTION
More than 350 multi-agency responders were trained during this three-day- long event and an additional 40 to 50 EMS student volunteers were involved. While logistics were determined well in advance, there were several logistical challenges encountered over the three days, including:
- Extremely hot and windy weather at 109-111 degrees with 35 mph wind gusts
- The TIM training was held on an active construction site, which required increased safety protocols and scheduling
- The site was in a very remote location, meaning there was no available public transportation to the site, no food or water was available at the site for participants and there were no portable bathrooms available
- Staging of responders was a challenge before the exercise
The Nevada TIM Coalition engaged professional Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Master TIM Trainers during the entire week to assess TIM learned skills. The FHWA Master TIM Trainers felt that the training itself was excellent and noted there were significant differences between multi-agency communications. This exercise allowed them to determine how to overcome these communication issues and help determine next steps.
Participant surveys were distributed to everyone in the training to assess the perceived value of the learning objectives. Specific results included:
- 86% said the training was very good or excellent in assessing the knowledge of multi-agency collaboration
- 79% felt the training taught them very good or excellent UCS
In addition, based on participant comments and comments from the members of the TIM Coalition, the following next steps were agreed to:
- Review policy and procedures to:
- Assist law enforcement in writing agency recommendations required TIM equipment
- Develop and support an Open Roads Agreement (ORA) that outlines the strategies and goals to get roads open within 30, 60 or 120 minutes of the detection of the incident
- Provide additional support, assistance, and coordination with the Department of Public Safety
- Assist with additional multi-agency training requested by all agencies
- Develop an additional budget to obtain actual funds for future trainings
- Participate in additional multi-agency training sessions and opportunities; i.e., four-hour SHRP2 Nevada TIM Trainings
OUTCOME, BENEFITS AND LEARNING
Based on the early success of the TIM Program, NDOT in collaboration with Parsons Transportation Group, expanded the TIM Coalition to develop statewide strategies to include the Reno area in 2011 and the rural areas of Nevada in 2015. The TIM Program now has more than 1,400 active responders participating in TIM training and meetings. Regular TIM trainings are held across the state every year and include Nevada law enforcement. Over 4,239 individuals across the state have received basic to advanced TIM training to better assist and respond to incidents.
Since the first multi-agency TIM training exercises, Nevada has seen real progress in the area of TIM. Multiple TIM trainings have occurred, and more responders have attended the training. Governor Brian Sandoval has approved the Open Roads Agreement (ORA) and publicly supports TIM efforts with the addition of TIM principles regarding quick clearance to his five-year strategic plan. This momentum has been spurred by the positive effects that TIM has had on the roadway system, including:
- 51% reduction in secondary crashes in the Las Vegas Valley and a major reduction in fatalities
- 298% increase in stakeholder participation in TIM coalition meetings
- 317% increase in effective TIM training of first responders throughout the state
REAL-LIFE TEST OF TIM TRAINING
While Nevada’s focus has been on improving the response to traffic incidents and incidents on the highway, Nevada’s response was truly tested during the mass casualty shooting event on October 1, 2017, along Las Vegas Boulevard. While the focus during that event was to respond to the injured and help minimize the loss of life, it was clear that the communication and collaborative efforts of the Nevada TIM Coalition helped to make a difficult situation easier to manage because it allowed first responders unobstructed access into the incident and provided the injured quick transportation to area hospitals.