PIOs & Public Educators
Every day across America, distracted and uninformed drivers pose a major threat to the safety and wellbeing of first responders who risk their own lives on roads and highways to assist those involved in traffic incidents. The Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association Emergency Responder Safety Institute, creator of ResponderSafety.com, is working hard to tackle this community risk.
CVVFA recently sponsored a national survey of 1,000 drivers ages 25 years and older who drive with children.The survey was conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) and funded by a FY19 FP&S grant to CVVFA, who released the results in honor of NSC's 2021 Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. In it, parents rank texts, phone calls and children in the backseat as the top three driving distractions. Nearly two-thirds of respondents admitted to regularly or occasionally programming a navigation system while driving alone; that risky behavior dropped 20% when children were present in the car. Similarly, more than half of parents surveyed admitted to regularly or occasionally talking on the phone while driving, which dropped 13% when children were along for the ride. While backseat passengers certainly demand extra attention, the survey encouragingly found parents are less likely to be distracted by technology when driving with their children in the car.
CVVFA has created tools for fire department PIOs to raise awareness of how distracted and impaired driving threatens not only individuals and families, but also the well-being of first responders who put themselves at risk to help during roadside emergencies.
- Download CVVFA supports Distraction-Free Driving
- Download Parents Should Always Drive as if Their Kids Are in the Car
Share these public service announcements with local media outlets or use them in presentations to educate the public:
Social Media PSAs
Visitors Center Loop Video
Media Advisories and Public Service Announcement Templates
These customizable templates will help you get the word out about important topics that impact the safety of first responders operating at roadway incident scenes. Each uses yellow highlighted areas to show where customization can be done. Use these templates as standalone, or connect their release to local incidents. When possible, insert local statistics or reference a local incident relevant to the topic.
- Move Over Slow Down
- Minor Accidents and Move It / Fender Bender Laws
- What To Do When Approaching An Emergency Scene on the Roadway
Sample Media Contact Emails
Media stories on responder safety topics can be generated starting with a simple email. Download a template to help you craft these brief, quick contacts that generate interest.
- Sample media contact email for PSA
- Sample media contact email for incident-related best practices for motorists
This push card, sponsored by ResponderSafety.com, contains important safety messages for the public about what actions to take when approaching and passing an emergency scene on the roadway. The push card is appropriate for distribution at rest areas, service plazas, community events, community presentations, driver education schools, motor vehicle bureaus, and other driver information distribution opportunities. Download a PDF of the push card here. Printed copies of the push card are also available as our funding permits. Please use this link and list the following: Name, Address and Phone Number of Your agency as well as a contact person. Please advise how and where you intend to use the cards and the number requested.
This infographic displays some of the highest-impact facts and statistics about roadway incident safety. Unfortunately, we don't have all the statistics we would like, but many entities continue to work on sharpening the picture of the risks first responders and the public face at emergency scenes on the roadway.
Download a Press Package to customize that includes all the resources above.
Backgrounders to Brief Department Leadership
These brief backgrounders are available for you to share with leadership:
- About the dangers posed by distracted and uniformed drivers
- About ResponderSafety.com (explains the origins of the responder safety effort and the national role of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association and its Emergency Responder Safety Institute)
Free Training for PIOs
The Responder Safety Learning Network (RSLN) offers a short online training module specifically for PIOs who want to learn more about how to communicate with the media about roadway response safety topics. Take the module, "Traffic Incident Management: Strategies for Public Outreach" here.
This page was created as a one-stop resource for PIOs and public educators, but ResponderSafety.com has additional tools that will help you write press releases and media advisories, prep your personnel for interviews on roadway response safety, educate the public, and connect the media to more information on safety topics when an incident occurs. Here are quick links:
- NTMIC "Anatomy of a Traffic Incident" — Login to RSLN.org required
- "Roadside Safety is No Accident" Safety Information Poster
- National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management: Detailed Explanation
- NTIMC "Benefits of Traffic Incident Management" — Login to RSLN.org required
- Protecting Emergency Responders on the Highway: A Ten Year Review by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute
The resources above were selected for this page, but there are dozens more resources available, including ones to help your department operate more safely on the roadway. See the entire list here.
Near Miss and Struck By Incidents
Local incidents and statistics will help bolster your pitch for media coverage of responder safety topics. ResponderSafety.com has several resources to help you find local incidents to tie into.
- News contains articles about roadway incidents involving first responders
- LODD News contains articles about first responder fatalities that occurred during response to roadway incidents
- Struck By Incidents contains articles covering incidents where first responders were struck while operating at a roadway incident
- Near Miss Database is a search page that returns results of incidents reported to the National Near Miss database that are categorized as roadway-related
Case Studies: NIOSH's Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program
NIOSH's Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program conducts independent investigations of selected incidents of firefighter line-of-duty deaths, writes reports detailing the contributing factors, and recommends ways to prevent deaths and injuries. The program does not seek to determine fault or place blame on fire departments or individual fire fighters, but to learn from these tragic events and prevent future similar events. Completed reports are available online. Reports categorized as "Struck By" are full of contributing factors and recommendations related to roadway safety practices. View Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Reports categorized as "trauma-related" and "motor vehicle struck-by."
If you have questions or are looking for something you can't find, please contact us and we will do our best to assist you.