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.

Survey Helps CVVFA Reach Out to Parents During Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Media Posts

Video PSAs

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

Public Education Videos

Sarah’s Story: The Monroe County Intermediate School District (Michigan) in collaboration with the 1st District Court of Monroe, MI produced Sarah’s Story (LINK to new page), a public service video describing the experience of a struck by incident from the perspective of a teen driver who hit an emergency responder. Participation in the video was part of the teen driver’s sentence for charges arising from the incident. The Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute supported the distribution of this piece, which was previously available only on DVD. We have now made it available on the Internet.

Sarah’s Story was produced in 2005 and its content reflects Michigan traffic laws at that time. However, ERSI believes that the approach of Sarah’s Story can be successfully applied to current issues like distracted driving and move over slow down to create an effective public education tool. A story told by a teen driver about the consequences of their actions should resonate with other teens. PIOs and public educators are encouraged to explore this type of programming in their local communities to present safe driving messaging in a way that hits home.

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.

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.

Push Card

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.

Infographic

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.

Press Package

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:

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.

Resources

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:

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.

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.

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