PATROL MATTERS - PA Turnpike - Home Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops
PATROL MATTERS - PA Turnpike - Home Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops
PATROL MATTERS - PA Turnpike - Home Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops
PATROL MATTERS - PA Turnpike - Home Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops

PATROL MATTERS - PA Turnpike - Home Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops

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  • PATROL MATTERS State Farm Safety Patrol Newsletter

    Heard on tHe Street | LiaiSon of Comfort, KnowLedge & aSSuranCe | touring tHe turnpiKe | wHen BumperS meet antLerS | winter driving Safety tipS

    Issue No. 9

    WHAT’S INSIDE

    Responding to Roadway incidents

    In November, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (http:// www.respondersafety.com) hosted a webinar entitled “The First 15 Minutes: Decision Making at Roadway Incidents.” Jack Sullivan, Director of Training for the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, spoke to attending first responders about the importance of safety when responding to incidents.

    The webinar highlighted training and communication as two necessities for safety. While official trainings should be attended annually, Sullivan’s first suggestion for first responders was to plan before being dispatched - reflect on areas that are frequently the scenes of incidents and then draw out a map of those areas and consider how traffic will be handled, where the first responder vehicles should be positioned and what safety equipment will be used. Sullivan then suggested repeating the pre- planning for the same location under variable conditions, such as changes in weather and different times of day.

    The Emergency Responder Safety Institute suggests first responders pre- plan in collaboration with other first responders who may respond to the same incident. So, when incidences occur Sullivan highly recommended that all responding agencies be on the same communication systems and on

    the same radio frequencies to facilitate a coordinated approach.

    Once a call for assistance comes in to dispatch, first responders should consider the type of incident; the type of units responding; the road, weather, traffic and lighting conditions; the location of the incident; the number of vehicles involved; and any immediate hazards at the incident scene. From there responders can determine the positioning of the first-in units, initial assignments, the need for safety apparatus placement and, most importantly, the best way to ensure safety of all parties.

    Sullivan, also, reminds responders to be aware of their surroundings. Motorists are unpredictable as are their actions and reactions, but proper safety precautions can help save responding units and victims from being injured. Blocking of the scene with safety apparatus, advance warning signs, traffic cones, flags and flashlight wands are among some of the tools responders can use to ensure safety.

    Webinars, like this one, have been made available to further the National Unified Goal of responder safety; safe, quick clearance; and prompt, reliable, interoperable communications. For more on the National Unified Goal, please visit http://timcoalition.org and to view “The First 15 Minutes: Decision

    Making at Roadway Incidents” webinar, please visit: http://www.firehouse.com/webcasts.

    While state lawmakers consider legislation on the use of handheld devices while driving, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission took the initiative to declare their roadways “Text-Free” in conjunction with the Turnpike’s 70th birthday on October 1, 2010. The motorist- education campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of texting behind the wheel will have messages displayed on tollbooths, on Variable Message Signs, window stickers and lawn signs at Turnpike rest stops and online at www.paturnpike.com.

    Distracted driving, an issue recognized nationwide and seen daily by Safety Service Patrols, led to more than 120 Pennsylvania Turnpike accidents in 2009. “Without doubt, drivers today have far too many diversions taking our attention away from what we should be doing behind the wheel,” Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier said when announcing the new campaign. “An unfortunate consequence of these technological advances is an increase in accidents involving multitasking motorists.” The State Farm Safety Patrol drivers patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be keeping their eyes open for motorists driving carelessly in order to report it to the State Police and do their part in keeping the Pennsylvania Turnpike a text-free zone.

    TEXT-FREE TURNPIKE

    Keep your thumbs on the wheel.

  • PATROL MATTERS

    State Farm Safety Patrol driver Linda Lynch joined the fleet in December of 1989, making this her 21st year! In over two decades, she has “seen it all, and enjoys the opportunity to help people every day.”

    Previous experience working as an EMT prepared Linda for responding to incident scenes and helping others during an emergency on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Both positions emphasize safety first, but one revolves around medical care, while the other focuses on traffic and roadway safety. “As an EMT, our primary job was to administer First Aid and medical care to our accident victims. Now as a State Farm Safety Patrol driver, our number one job is safety and alerting oncoming traffic about an incident ahead.”

    Linda currently works as both a patrol driver and an office clerk at the Burnt Cabins Maintenance shed. “In addition to patrolling, I do the payroll, paperwork, sign out the supplies, and answer the phones. My title is actually Clerk/MUW [Maintenance Utility Worker].”

    “Burnt Cabins is a very small town, never much traffic, but the turnpike is always busy with people traveling through the area to get to the larger cities.” Having grown up in Neadmore, another small town, Linda feels comfortable in the area and on the roads encompassing and surrounding Burnt Cabins. She currently lives with her husband and fifteen year old daughter in McConnellsburg, about

    twenty minutes outside of Burnt Cabins.

    The ratio of male to female patrol drivers for the Burnt Cabins shed is 3:2, but there are no divides between the sexes. Linda describes the atmosphere among her fleet as that of a “team and family.” She referred to an incident that took place in early October of this year that led to

    the injury of a fellow patrol driver, “When one of your co-workers gets hurt, it’s really like a family member being injured. There were constant phone calls and visits to him in the hospital and they continued even when he returned home.” In general when one team member is injured, “everyone really helps each other, and at a time like that we truly rely on each other. Even other maintenance sheds will call to check how the team and the injured worker is doing. It’s really nice.”

    Linda speaks very highly of the benefits of her job, including her fleet family. She especially appreciates the health benefits offered to State Farm Safety Service Patrol drivers. “This was the best job in the area. I used to be in the medical field before I came out here. I’m an asthmatic, and this job actually has better benefits than my former position at the hospital.”

    Linda works the day shift, seven to three, Monday through Friday and appreciates that this position allows her to have a fixed work schedule. “I worked the weekend and evening shifts for a long time, and that was hard to do with a family.”

    Thanks to her day schedule, Linda can spend more free time with her daughter. As her daughter nears sixteen, talks of

    getting a drivers license have begun. Linda is prepared to teach her daughter the importance of safety while on the road. “I teach her what the right things are: seat belts, speed limits and road signs. This is all from my experience while on the road. You never know who is traveling out

    there, so you have to make sure that you are always alert.”

    These basic tips are helpful to motorists across the board, but especially important for teens to understand. “A lot of accidents happen because people aren’t paying attention. If people were more cautious of what was ahead, then they would be much safer,” Linda says, speaking as someone who sees the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis. “Technology, although helpful, also hinders a motorist from concentrating completely on the road. “

    Working with the public and understanding their tendencies on the road is one of the most important parts of being a State Farm Safety Service Patrol driver. “Our job is to provide assistance to customers. Most drivers aren’t familiar with the area, and many are unaware of what resources are available. We serve as a liaison for them, providing comfort, knowledge, and assurance.”

    The State Farm sponsorship helps Linda and her colleagues deliver their services and keep the Pennsylvania Turnpike safe. In particular Linda likes the “Good Neigh-bears” that she gives to children who are upset or scared on the road.

    Linda and her fellow patrol drivers also enjoy reading the feedback from the comment cards, and are appreciative for the poster they receive each month. “I highlight the cards from our area. It’s rewarding when you read people’s stories and are reminded of how much you helped them.”

    2 |

    Liaison of comfoRt, KnowLedge & assuRance

    we want to Hear from you! pLeaSe Send feedBaCK to CommentS@traveLerSmarKeting.Com

    “I highlight the cards from our area.

    It’s rewarding when you read people’s

    stories and are reminded of how much

    you helped them.”

    “Technology, although helpful, also

    hinders a motorist from concentrating

    completely on the road.”

  • Issue No. 9

    On August 28th Turnpike customer John Cernus set out in hi