An End of the Year Report From President Dave Lewis

I want to take this opportunity to communicate with you the activities of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association since the Fall meeting in October.

At our meeting, a resolution was unanimously approved to change the name of our association from Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association to be now known as the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association. Much work lies ahead to formalize this change, but we will be using that name for all communications from this point forward.  Remember, our mission has not changed.  We are only changing our name to recognize the diversity that already exists within our organization. As a part of the change, there has been much discussion on what our logo should look like going forward.  Several proposals have been reviewed and the Officers have decided that the selection of a new logo should be left to the membership.  Look for additional information as we prepare for the spring meeting.

Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) was recognized during the week of November 13-17, 2023.  This annual event is an opportunity to promote road user awareness and adherence to Move Over laws and advocate for Traffic Incident Management Training (TIM) Responder Training for all traffic incident responders. CVVFA has a large part in the activities during CRSW, including representation on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Executive Leadership Group (ELG). I attended the in-person ELG meeting at FHWA Headquarters in Washington, DC, to commemorate CRSW.  To each of you, as members of the CVVFA, you owe it to your members and your communities to reduce roadway fatalities by advocating for safe roadway practices. What actions did the personnel in your department take during CRSW?

Also, during CRSW, CVVFA was represented at the American Towman Expo in Baltimore, MD on November 16-18. Thank you to Doug DeHaven, Bob Cumberland and John Dewees, for joining me as we represented CVVFA/ERSI with a display booth. This was our second year exhibiting at the Towman’s Expo and it has provided some great opportunities to engage with tow operators to help them work safely on the roadways and inform them of resources available through the Responder Safety Learning Network.

CVVFA/ERSI was contracted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) in April 2023 to design a new training program about automated vehicle technology for emergency responders. A combination of research and conversations with autonomous vehicle OEMs was done to gather as much relevant information as possible in a field where technology is changing almost daily. Jack Sullivan and Richard Brooks traveled to Maple Plain, MN, to deliver the pilot presentation “Automated Vehicle Technology for Emergency Responders”, on November 29.  The presentation was attended by 50 responders representing fire/EMS, law enforcement, towing/recovery, DOT, and state/local officials. The intent of GHSA is to distribute this training nationwide to GHSA members.

Automated vehicle technology is moving at such a fast pace that it is difficult to keep up with it.  Several CVVFA members are active within Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) working groups to review and assess the impact that these vehicles will have on roadway safety. Jack Sullivan attended the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) “Automated Driving System Demonstration Event” on October 24, and I attended a meeting and demonstrations held by the Maryland Connected and Automated Vehicle Working Group on December 7.

CVVFA/ERSI always has the interest of our users in mind when developing and delivering responder safety programs. On October 26, a Town Hall Listening Session was held to gather feedback and input from ERSI users.  This feedback is important to help guide future development of programs to meet the needs of responders of roadway incidents.

Through member support, CVVFA purchased a Dogwood tree and memorial plaque in memory of Past President Walter Robertson. This memorial site, hosted by the Virginia State Firefighters Association (VSFA), brings lasting tributes to the many members who provided lifelong support of the activities of the VSFA. At the 2023 Convention, a motion was made for CVVFA to sponsor a memorial in Walter’s name. Funding was made through the generous contributions from our members.

Make your plans now to attend our spring meeting on March 16-17, 2024, hosted by the Citizens Fire Company in Newport, PA.  A hotel block is being held at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg. We will be planning for some training activity on Saturday afternoon and our meeting will be held starting Sunday morning. Monitor the CVVFA website for additional information.

I’ll close this communication by wishing each of you a happy and safe holiday season.  It is important during this time that we take time to spend with family and friends and give thanks for the time we have together.  God bless each and every one of you and Merry Christmas to all.

President David Lewis