In January 1997, the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Operations Section sponsored a meeting of Emergency Responders in the Greater Hartford Area to introduce the concept of Highway Incident Management. A workshop brought area Emergency Responders together to hear Ken Mallette, Lt. with the New Jersey State Police and Chief of the Jackson, New Jersey Fire Department, speak about the benefits of improving communication and coordination at the scene of a highway incident. Efficient and rapid clearing of a highway incident:
- reduces the amount of time that responders are exposed to the hazards of oncoming traffic, and
- reduces the amount of time drivers are caught in congestion.
ConnDOT Highway Ops, working with planners from the Capitol Region Council of Governments, the Central CT Regional Planning Agency and Midstate Regional Planning Agency, subsequently established the Greater Hartford Incident Management Steering Committee to work toward the goal of improving coordination, cooperation and communication among emergency responders. In 2006, the Steering Committee assumed the role of RESF-1.
This committee included representatives of local fire services, local police, emergency medical services, towing companies, State agencies (Police, Transportation and Environmental Protection), regional planning agencies and the Federal Highway Administration. The goal of this group was increased coordination, cooperation, and communication among all responding agencies.
- ConnDOT Highway Ops, working with local police departments, developed a series of preplanned diversion routes for each exit on I-84 from Plainville to the MA state line and on I-91 from Wallingford to the MA state line. The Steering Committee developed a protocol for the use of these diversion plans and sponsored a meeting to distribute the plans to the local police departments.
- Highway incident notification procedures have been documented and the list of agencies to be notified has been expanded, resulting in increased communications and more efficient responses.
- A plan detailing a list of suggested locations for standpipes, hydrant access doors, hydrant locator signs, and emergency median crossovers was prepared by the Committee and delivered to DOT.
- ConnDOT Highway Ops, working with CRCOG, developed an Incident Management Plan for the Capitol Region and most of the proposals have now been implemented. The Committee sponsored an emergency table top exercise which emphasized use of these new technologies.
- The Capitol Region Fire Chiefs Association, with the assistance of the Steering Committee, was the sponsor and facilitator of a two-day workshop on emergency management in February, 2001.
- A proposal, developed by the Steering Committee, to purchase radio communication equipment with Federal and State highway funds was approved and became operational in late 2001.
- The Committee undertook a “regional evaluation” of incident management in 2003 and determined that most of the recommendations for improvement would need to be addressed at the State level. At the same time the TSB was establishing a Statewide Incident Management committee that would address those issues.