NCSP and SPTC Deliver First Emergency Vehicle Defensive Driving Pilot

4 November, 2012

Through its strategic partnership with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) the National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP) has been working with the NY State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) to develop unique emergency vehicle operator courses (EVOC) to support emergency responders throughout New York State and beyond. In addition to the extensive law enforcement training already taking place at the SPTC's recently completed EVOC facilities, the NCSP and SPTC are working to provide programs geared toward the greater response community- including EMS and fire.

As part of this effort, the NCSP is developing the Emergency Vehicle Defensive Driving (EVDD) Course to provide basic training on both non-emergency and emergency vehicle driving. The EVDD course is designed to fill an important need by presenting safe emergency driving techniques that are applicable to all responders, regardless of the type of vehicle they operate.

The NCSP and SPTC delivered the first pilot of the EVDD course from October 23rd-25th, 2012. Nineteen students participated, including representatives from the NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control, NYS Office of Emergency Management, NYS Office of Counter Terrorism, the NYS Department of Health Bureau of EMS, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The lead instructor for the course was NCSP Subject Matter Expert (SME) instructor Sam Jess, a retired NY State Trooper and former sheriff of Herkimer County with 50 years of experience in law enforcement and over three decades of EVOC instruction. Jess headed a team of 7 other SMEs, all with extensive backgrounds in EVOC instruction.

Students and SMEs spent the first day in the classroom reviewing legal guidelines for operating emergency vehicles, effective driving habits and techniques for accident avoidance, and best practices for safely responding to emergency situations.

The final two days were spent on the SPTC's EVOC track. Students were given the opportunity to put knowledge gained in the classroom into practice, using their own agency-assigned vehicles, ranging from 4-door sedans, to mid-sized SUVs and large pickup trucks. Students rotated through 3-separate courses executing serpentines, 180-degree turns, backing exercises, and other crash avoidance maneuvers. Students also spent a few hours on the highway response course to familiarize themselves with responding to emergencies and disasters under higher speeds.

With the successful completion of the pilot course, the NCSP is working to further develop courses in emergency vehicle operations to meet the needs of New York State's first responder community. Future deliveries will look to incorporate instruction for ambulance operators and trailer towing.