Charleston area first responders get TIM training

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston's complex roads and heavy traffic volumes are why some first responders are getting more training to keep you safe.

Monday a handful men and women looked at ways of responding to a situation or an accident.

According to the SC Department of Transportation, there are more than 14,000 first responders statewide.

"That includes everything from law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS, EPD/Hazmat, towing and recovery, and then our crews," said Incident Response Management Coordinator Mike Bowman.

Bowman said of the 14,000, 26.3% or 3,700 responders have taken the "Traffic Incident Management" program, or the TIM Network program.

The focus is on the three C's, communication, coordination, and cooperation.

"As a retired law enforcement officer, I now understand what fire's mission is at a scene," Bowman said. "If I'm an EMT, I understand what police's mission is. So the whole thing is mutual cooperation about responder safety and how we protect a motorist."

So how does this affect you?

Depending on what kind of situation first responders are called to, could mean the difference between you sitting in traffic for 40 minutes compared to two or more hours.

"When we all show-up, we're operating under that same umbrella to create a unified scene for not only our safety but to create a traffic flow that is controlled and keeps moving," said Special Operation Chief Jason Krusen, with the Charleston Fire Department. "That's the main thing."

Krusen said preventing secondary accidents is the main goal because they could turn out to be more life-threatening than the first accident agencies responded to.

"With the society we live in a lot of people are distracted," Bowman said. "So one of the things we want responders to be cognizant of is that drivers are distracted. Another thing we want to do as responders is making sure that we mark the scene correctly."

This could mean everything from the overhead message boards on the highway to even how first responders position their vehicles on a scene.

Bowman urges motorists to visit the SC 511 Travel Information System, which allowed people to navigate roadways, reduce commuting times and minimize the impact of traffic incidents.

While TIM program is not required, some agencies are making it a priority for recruits to take.

The program is held in the Charleston area four times a year.

The goal is to have at least 30% of first responders statewide participate in this program by the end of the year.

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