Dr. Harry Carter
Dr. Harry Carter
Editors Column- Monday, Aug, 8, 2005

August 2005 Editor's Column

By the time you read these words, the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association will have completed its 104th Annual Convention in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. We were fortunate enough to have been able to combine our efforts with those of the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Department, which celebrated its 75th Anniversary of service to its community. This was a watershed event for those of us here at Respondersafety.com. For those of us who have been in this from the beginning, it is a time for rejoicing. New things are headed your way.

We are moving to a new level of service to you, the person operating out there on the highways of our nation. Federal grant funding has allowed us to expand our services. Perhaps the most important aspects of this expansion of services are coming in the areas of training, staffing, and recruiting.

The Emergency Response Safety Institute (ERSI) will be developing a demonstration program that will allow us to introduce new people to our world. This program will train non-prior service individuals to enter the world of highway traffic control. The Halfway, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department has agreed to become the test platform for this project.

We will show that there is a new way of bringing people into the service to serve as traffic control personnel. The funding for this will come from a Fire Corps grant. Part of this grant program will also include the creation of an on-line training manual to support this project that will be available to you on our website.

People will be recruited, provided with a physical wellness examination, and receive a wide array of specialized training courses. Each individual will receive a physical examination to assess his or her physical ability to participate. One of the major concerns which we hope to address involves the physical ability of people to participate in this program.

Those individuals that pass the physical examination and successfully complete the training program will be graduated and enter the department as fire police. For those of you not from the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic states, fire police are members of local volunteer fire departments who are trained and respond to control traffic at the scene of emergencies on the highways of their communities.

Down the line, we will be providing a set of guidelines and training programs for those of you in other parts of the country who wish to develop a voluntary traffic control capability within your community. This can serve as an extremely useful adjunct to your normal delivery system.

Very shortly we will also be able to provide you with a highway safety control pocket handbook. It will be available via our website at some point early next year. It will allow you to have a small pocket handbook that tells you how to set up and use traffic control areas.

On another note, some changes are coming to our Respondersafety.com website. A number of us from the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association met with our web hosts from Firehouse.com during the Firehouse Expo in Baltimore. A number of new approaches to delivering our knowledge to you were explored.

We intend to introduce a real-life counter and map to tell you how many emergency response people have been struck on the highways, and where these incidents have occurred. Every time you see the number click up, we want you to pause and ponder whether there was something you could have done to have prevented these struck-bys from happening in your area.

I am firmly convinced that all we do is a combination of skill, knowledge, and luck. Let me share a fact with you that I have derived from all of my years' experience in the fire service. To my way of thinking, it seems as though the more that I have done, the harder I have worked, and the more I have learned, the luckier I have been.

This is what we here at Respondersafety.com want to help you to do. We want to rev up your interest in highway safety. We want to provide you with the tools to get the job done. We want to share the ongoing highway data and about all we want you to work harder, learn more, and perhaps become a lot luckier.

I think this theory will work for you. Do not expect good things to happen if you fail to take positive steps to make it safer for you and your fire department.

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