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ETP Hosts Chicago Fire Department for Specialized Training

Chicago Fire Department Training

Emergency Traffic Patrol staff recently hosted a three-day training in conjunction with the Chicago Fire Department.

“Though we already work closely with CFD at expressway incidents ETP patrols within Chicago city limits, this was mainly an informational session showing the CFD unit our heavy-duty wreckers, explaining their capabilities and showing how they operate,” said Jim McKay, Emergency Traffic Patrol manager in District 1’s Bureau of Traffic. “We also shared other operational information regarding expressway incidents we will both be responding to.” McKay said that since the heavy-duty recovery vehicles are only used during truck-related accidents and heavy-lifting incidents, it’s important that employees are comfortable operating these complex machines under all types of recoveries. In addition, information sharing ensures that everyone involved in an incident response is on the same page. Cooperation and understanding between agencies is crucial.

“Because of attrition, promotions or retirements, changes in leadership and manpower staffing at ETP and other agencies like CFD and the Illinois State Police have emerged,” McKay said. “The professionals we have worked with in the past may have been replaced with new recruits that are unfamiliar with each other’s capabilities and procedures, so during these visits, we all share information on what to expect at an incident scene.” Because ETP are constantly patrolling the highways, the Minutemen are often the first to come across and respond to expressway incidents.

“Our drivers must communicate over the two-way radios to their supervisors, the communication center and ISP to inform everybody what is involved and what is needed,” McKay said. “Since most incidents and accidents are lane blocking, our drivers must also set up safe, emergency lane closures to ensure the scene is safe, to warn approaching vehicles and protect the responders working around the incident.” It's not easy work, but ETP involvement helps set the scene for a safe and efficient response.

“Yes, they have a stressful job, but they get it done!” McKay said. The event was attended by several representatives from ETP, Jim McKay, assistant ETP manager Harrison Maddox, and ETP training lead workers Joe Huante, Angel Ramirez and Jay Seifried, as well as 200 personnel with the CFD Squad Special Operations Unit. The CFD Special Operations Unit are specialized responders for not only large structure fires, but also other rescue situations, including traffic-related accidents requiring freeing motorists from crushed wrecked vehicles or heavy-lifting equipment rescues.