National Traffic Incident Response Week Highlights Teamwork

ANKENY, Iowa  --  The Iowa Department of Transportation hosted a special open house on Monday as a part of the National Traffic Incident Response Week.

The event gathered various first responders to motor vehicle crashes, including the Iowa State Patrol, DOT Enforcement, the DOT Traffic Management Center, Highway Helper, ambulance, fire departments, and wrecker services.

“Whenever we have traffic incidents on the roadway, we want to make sure we respond to them and clear them as efficiently and as quickly as possible,” said Brett Tjepkes of the Iowa State Patrol. “We didn’t create the accident, we didn't cause the accident, but there are things we can do to make sure that we can reduce any secondary collision.”

Different agencies were invited to bring their vehicles to the open house. This included State Patrol cars, Highway Helper, Johnston Ambulance, and huge wreckers.

"Traffic incident management at the Iowa DOT is extremely important,” said Bonnie Castillo, who works in Communications for the DOT. “We have several different aspects that we do to help with responders on scene and help with the traveling public.”

Those aspects include the Highway Helper and message boards, which can warn people of an upcoming accident scene.

“Traffic incident management is something that’s important to the fire service and all agencies involved because we need understand each other's priorities,” said Doug Allen of the Ames Fire Department. “There’s been some conflict in the past between law enforcement and fire on some of these incidents, but the more we understand each agency’s priorities, we can work better together.”