Emergency Response Operations - Your Help on the Road in Kansas City

Emergency Response Operators provide assistance on most of the busiest interstates in, and around the Kansas City metropolitan area, offering help to disabled motorists, responding for lane obstructions, be it stalled vehicles in traffic lanes, car accidents or debris in the roadway. Emergency Response operators also provide support to law enforcement, emergency first responders and other emergency agencies in the form of traffic control and back up for incidents on the area interstates. Their goals are to minimize major disruption of freeway traffic flow, to focus on the factors that create disruption in the flow and remove those factors, to relieve congestion and maintain a consistent flow of traffic during an incident and to reduce clearance time for incidents, all to offer Kansas City area motorists a smoother, safer commute. In Missouri, the Emergency Response program is a division of Kansas City Scout and the Missouri Department of Transportation. In Kansas, KHP provides Motorist Assist Vehicle (MAV) service in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Emergency Response Survey

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Emergency Response Shifts

Day Shift Emergency Response Units patrol the major Missouri interstates and highways, which are divided into 5 coverage areas called zones with operators patrolling these zones Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with limited coverage on holidays:

  • Zone 1 coverage runs on US 71 Highway from 155th St to Bannister Road, I-435 from State Line Rd to Bannister Road and I-470 from the Three Trails Memorial Crossing east to US 50 Highway
  • Zone 2 coverage begins on I-435 from Bannister Road north to I-35
  • Zone 3 coverage begins at Front St. and goes north across the Paseo Bridge on the I-29/I-35 corridor up to Tiffany Springs Parkway on I-29 and up I-35 to Missouri State Route 152
  • Zone 4 covers from the State Line on I-35 and I-70 west into the downtown loop, I-670 on the south side of the downtown loop and east on I-70 to the Blue Ridge Cutoff
  • Zone 5 coverage begins on I-70 at the Blue Ridge Cutoff and goes east to Adams Dairy Parkway and on I-470 south/west to US 50 Highway

These Emergency Response units constantly patrol the zones and stop to check on vehicles that appear to be in trouble. They also receive aid from Scout Traffic System operators who monitor cameras on the freeways also looking for stranded motorists, lane blockage or debris in the roadway. If you experience car trouble and don't have a cell phone, don't worry. Help will arrive soon with the usual response time of about 20 minutes.

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After Hours Emergency Response Units

Seven days a week After-Hours Emergency Response is staffed, with availability on holidays. These operators take on major vehicle accidents, obstructions and clean-ups on the interstates and highways. Unlike Day Shift Emergency Responders, these units do not patrol specific coverage areas and they can be called out as needed anywhere within metropolitan Kansas City Missouri as well as the rural surrounding areas. They too assist law enforcement, fire departments and other emergency agencies in clearing accident sites, emergency roadway and debris clearing, pothole patching and many other functions to maintain the safety of the roadway during the off peak hours.

Emergency Response Operators Photo

Emergency Response Operators offer the following services:

  • Change flat tires
  • Jump start weak batteries
  • Provide fuel, coolant and water
  • Provide road and travel information
  • Provide transportation to safer areas
  • Provide courtesy use of telephone

Emergency Response Operator trucks have the following equipment:

  • Several bags of floor dry
  • Emergency Lighting with Arrow board for traffic control
  • Reflective cones
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone
  • First aid kits
  • Floor jack for flat tires
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Air compressor
  • Gasoline
  • Water
  • Flares
  • Push-bumpers
  • Assorted tools for minor mechanical repairs.

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What to do if you break down

Pull your vehicle as far onto the right shoulder as possible. Make sure you display your emergency flashers or a distress sign if you have one. Be aware of your surroundings and do not step out of the vehicle into a lane of traffic. Remain calm and know that assistance is available. Do not get out of your vehicle as it is safer to stay inside the vehicle. Remain with your vehicle since Emergency Response Operators cannot help if you are not with your vehicle when they arrive. If you have a cell phone call *55 to reach Missouri State Highway Patrol who will contact Kansas City Scout to send help your way. Do not attempt to change a flat in or near a lane of traffic. It is better to ruin a tire or rim than to risk being struck by another vehicle.

If you are involved in an accident and your vehicle is drivable, move your vehicle over to the right shoulder out of the lanes of traffic, then call *55 for help. Stay in your vehicle, since this will provide the safest situation while you await help and in fact, It's The Law.

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Tips to Avoid a Breakdown

The Emergency Response program is here to help motorists. However, we would like to provide you with easy tips to avoid the inconvenience of experiencing a break down. These tips if practiced can keep you running smoothly:

  • Regularly check your fuel levels, especially low gas levels which are hard on electric fuel pumps
  • Check your windshield wipers
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure and make sure you always have a spare tire
  • Maintain hoses and belts

Kansas Motorist Assist Program

Kansas Motorist Assist Photo

In Kansas, the Motorist Assist program is a division of the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas City Scout and the Kansas Department of Transportation. Staffing of the Kansas Motorist Assist program is provided by non-sworn officers with the Kansas Highway Patrol. Each Motorist Assist Vehicle (MAV unit) is equipped with a four-way wrench and jack for changing tires, jumper cables, gasoline cans and numerous other tools.

Kansas MAV unit operators assist traffic flow by removing disabled and abandoned vehicles from Kansas roadways in addition to the following responsibilities:

  • Protect and assist stranded motorists.
  • Assist KDOT and local law enforcement agencies in preventing incidents that endanger motorists and disrupt normal traffic flow.
  • Frees State Troopers to perform duties requiring law enforcement powers.

It is important that you maintain your vehicle in top operating condition at all times to help prevent unexpected breakdowns and other incidents on the highway. Other helpful tips include:

  • Park your vehicle as far off the traveled portion of the roadway as possible.
  • Turn on the four-way emergency flashers (hazard lights).
  • Stay in your vehicle until help arrives, especially at night or in inclement weather.
  • If someone stops, partially open your window and ask them to *47 to reach the Kansas Highway Patrol dispatch center. If traveling on the Kansas Turnpike, dial *KTA to reach a Kansas Turnpike Authority dispatcher.
  • Notify the Kansas Highway Patrol or local law enforcement agency of the location and circumstance if you must leave your vehicle along the highway.

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Emergency Response Operator Photo

Incident Management Program

In 2007 Kansas City Scout integrated Emergency Response into a robust Incident Management program. Incident Management is the process of coordinating resources of different partnering agencies and private sector companies to identify, respond to, and clear traffic incidents as quickly as possible while protecting the safety of on-scene responders and the traveling public. For every minute a freeway lane is blocked during the peak period, at least a 10 minute backup will result after the incident is cleared. This statistic highlights Incident Management's importance as a vital factor in the battle to combat congestion, to improve public safety and to advance the overall quality of the commuting experience. Since the inception of the Incident Management program, Scout has seen a 30% reduction in the amount of time it takes for an incident to clear. The creation of the Incident Management program has played a tremendous role in helping the environment, saving fuel, money, time and most importantly lives of motorists traveling on Kansas City area interstates.

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Emergency Response Operators Photo

Image of ER Helping a motorist (Need Image/Graphic)

Image of ER Helping a motorist (Need Image/Graphic)

Image of ER Helping a motorist (Need Image/Graphic)