Each year highway traffic incidents, such as crashes, place responders on and beside roadways with dangerous high-speed traffic. The unexpected conditions of an incident scene have the potential to surprise unsuspecting or inattentive drivers, possibly causing an additional crash, termed a secondary incident.
Because responder safety is a key priority of the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT), and because secondary incidents are frequently more severe than the initial incident, ICT researchers, guided by a technical review panel (TRP) of members from multiple incident response agencies, studied ways to improve responder safety in Illinois through a training program. A survey of incident
response agencies throughout Illinois was conducted to assess the current level and type of incident management training provided to each group of responders. The research team reviewed the current training materials at federal, state, regional, and organizational levels. Based on the statewide survey, comprehensive literature reviews, and inputs from the TRP members, a training program was developed. The training intends to provide the necessary interdisciplinary knowledge to incident responders in Illinois. The main objective of the training is to keep responders safe, prevent secondary incidents, and reduce fatalities in Illinois, while
reducing non-recurring congestion caused by the incidents. The training includes approximately 6.5 hours of classroom time and is divided into eight modules, each providing valuable training to incident responders. The training program was pilot tested in two regions of Illinois prior to finalization. The pilot training sessions received very positive feedback from over 50 participants.