KENNEBUNK — Firefighters and police closed off the right lane of the northbound Maine Turnpike under the Limerick Road overpass Monday, not for an accident scene, but for a movie scene.

“You’re going to become a Hollywood star,” joked Bill Thompson, highway maintenance foreman of the Maine Turnpike Authority, to Saco Fire Chief John Duross, before Duross directed fire trucks for one scene, to be used in a highway safety training video for southern Maine police and firefighters.

The Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission hired Kennebunk-based Video Creations production company to film an eight-minute movie to train police on how to close lanes, position their vehicles and establish safety in multiple emergency response scenarios.

In the works since February and costing $10,000, the film was paid for by the SMRPC and a MTA transportation grant, according to Tom Reinauer, SMRPC transportation director, and is expected to be released soon after its December completion date.

“We felt we needed something specific that focused on Maine,” said Reinauer. Highway emergency response videos were available from other states, he said, but none were produced locally.

At noon on Monday, filming began on how fire trucks should be parked when a totaled car lay in a ditch, leaving a passenger possibly hurt. Saco, Wells and Kennebunk EMS and fire departments participated in the shoot, along with state police.

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“Firemen and police will be able to sit down, view the video, and discuss it amongst each other afterwards,” said Lt. Kevin Donovan of the Maine State Police, adding that the idea has been well-received by police and firefighters.

Donovan said he plans on sending the video to legislators in Washington so it will be distributed to police and fire departments across the country.  

Local agencies have already hosted 15 training classes during the last six months in Saco, Biddeford, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, York, Wells and Kittery, according to Reinauer, and the video will provide a visual source of education.

“It’s good to get everyone on the same page if they’re the first to show up to an incident,” said Reinauer.

The scenarios in the video will include when ambulances, tow trucks or fire trucks are necessary at the scene of an accident, when a car is totaled, and getting drivers to safety.

Another part of the movie will be dedicated to “unified commands,” or when police and firefighters talk with one another at the scene of an incident to share information and secure an area.

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“It’s a whole different world out here,” said Thompson, who added that there are different challenges to approaching incidents on an interstate, as opposed to town roads. Speeding cars on highways make bringing drivers and passengers to safety more difficult, he said.

Thompson said planning for the video began a few years ago by the MTA and state police, and to see it turn into a large production gave him “a great feeling.”

Shooting will continue Thursday and Friday at 9 a.m. to wrap up the final scenes, concentrating on procedures that ensure each incident has a minimal effect on traffic flow. The right lane under the Limerick Road overpass will remain closed during filming.

— Staff Writer Matt Kiernan can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 326, or at [email protected].



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