First responders undergo crisis events training Thursday

Local first responders got new tips and tricks Thursday for keeping themselves safe while working in dangerous spots.

The training, hosted at Cyber Hall on the University of Alabama campus, was taught by retired Birmingham fire veteran Ken Colvert.

“It is a coordinated effort to have responders learn how to keep themselves safe on our roadways when they are dealing with multiple traffic incidents,” Colvert said. “It brings all responders together to get to know each other, to better understand what each of them do, and to work together in a coordinated effort.”

According to the Work Zone Barriers Guide, 50 first responders were struck and killed on roadways around the U.S. in 2022.

When there are major crashes or other incidents on the road , Colvert said, it’s imperative that issues are cleared quickly and safely so drivers can continue on their way and help gets to those who need it most.

“Even locally here in Pelham in the last few months, we’ve had a law enforcement officer that was struck and injured,” Colvert said. “Thankfully she survived. This is to teach those first responders how to deal with traffic, how to manage the traffic around them to lesson that impact.”

Tuscaloosa Police Department Capt. Lachlan Chronister has firsthand knowledge on the subject, as a distracted driver once crashed into him.

“I think the vehicle was going around 20 mph,” Chronister said. “It clipped me in the elbow and bruised me up pretty good. Luckily, it did not break.”

But that’s just one more hazard of the job, he said.

“It happens. If you are directing traffic, you are standing there,” he said. “(Drivers) don’t care how much high-vis you have on. This was an Alabama football game. They were trying to find their parking lot, so their mind was distracted.”

Even though he’s been doing police work for a long time, Chronister said opportunities for professional development are always helpful.

“It’s a 100% necessary course,” he said. “I wish there were more guys and gals who could take it. It is one of those things that I am hoping I can gain enough from this that I can bring back to my agency to kind of pass this along. I think everyone else here in kind of in that same boat.”

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