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GUIDE FOR EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS STATE OF THE PRACTICE--STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES The steering group of the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), an assembly of representatives from the public safety and transportation communities, identified three categories of issues related to TIM for its 2002 conference: Operations, Technology, and Institutions. OPERATIONS Addressing the Procedures, Processes, Roles, and Relationships Used in the Field in Responding to Incidents and Emergencies Emergency response, general incident management, and TIM all have their own con- ventions consisting of agency roles, accepted procedures, headquarters functions, and ad hoc reactions by field personnel. Incidents and emergencies are not perceived in state DOTs and public safety agencies in the same way regarding their traffic service implica- tions. From a transportation point of view, major improvements in safety and efficiency have been demonstrated by developing and integrating comprehensive approaches based on coordinated and prepared operational regimes, rapid provision of emergency response, and speedy recovery of service. However, highway-related protocols and procedures employed locally for ETO vary widely nationwide among responders. Quick clearance policy is in force in a handful of areas, MUTCD-compliant traffic control is not widely used, traffic control training for responders is modest, and proper staging and emergency lighting are not widely employed. A major concern is the lack of training to formalize an approach designed to reduce the number and severity of secondary crashes. Furthermore, while the value of an all-hazard approach is widely acknowledged, the special operational needs associated with the range of incidents and emergencies are not approached on a coordinated basis. Highway-related emergency management procedures related to HAZMAT, WMD, and major disasters are not well-integrated with the incident man- agement process in most states. While there has been an increasing level of training in incident command (among most public safety agencies and some DOTs) and in TIM among DOTs, the field of ETO is not yet professionalized as part of basic training curricula and agency policies. In con- trast to other areas of emergency services (fire and rescue), the concept of performance standards for clearance of incidents is not yet widely accepted. Traffic incident clear- ance and other traffic-related emergency functions are rarely tracked or benchmarked against best practice or prior performance. There is wide variation in practice, as mea- sured by safety or delay, and a substantial gap exists between best emerging best prac- tices and the general state of the practice. TECHNOLOGY Addressing the Communications and Other Equipment Used to Facilitate and Improve the Effectiveness of ETO At the present time, the application of technology to ETO is limited and based princi- pally on safety service patrols; regional public safety call and computer-aided dispatch 14