Holmatro IndyCar Safety Team makes house call
Four members of the Holmatro Safety Team recently returned from Argentina, where they reviewed INDYCAR's track safety protocols and procedures with the Rally Argentino safety team.
"Their team is diverse in that their courses change. They'll go from flat terrain, no roadways to dirt to road to mud and they actually race on hillsides, too, in mountains. They can have a crash on a city street to one on a hillside," said Tim Baughman, who joined INDYCAR track safety operations manager Mike Yates, Matt Stewart and Denise Titus on the trip.
"They have to have a pretty diverse response team that includes rope rescue, extrication and a strong medical component because of some remote locations they race. They had us look at all aspects of what they do and we showed them what we do -- our assignments, equipment, our trucks and how we break down our first response of taking care of the driver and then prepare the track."
The groups trained together, demonstrating extraction procedures from the rally car and using Holmatro tools to cut a car for extraction.
"It was similar to what you see in the fire department because the doors of the race car open like a passenger vehicle," said Baughman, who is also the Indianapolis Fire Department's Chief of Planning and Transition. "Also, Matt and I have extensive background in cutting open a car so we showed them some techniques."
The road rally series, which has 11 events between February and December, is promoted by the company owned by Jorge Perez, whose brother, Pablo, was injured in an Indy Lights crash in 2007. Titus had visited the Perez family in Argentina during his recovery, which precipitated the invitation.
The Holmatro Safety Team consists of two dozen safety personnel, with a minimum of 16 attending each INDYCAR event - two trauma physicians, three paramedics and nine firefighters/EMTs and two nurses. Team members have an average of 20 years' experience. The team works in conjunction with and coordinates the safety personnel staffing at each venue.
"It was a good crossover; we learned from each other. It was quite an honor that they were asking for our approval and they asked us to return," Baughman said.