A Life in Red – A day with the Rescue Unit
When myself, Steve Land and Mark Noble were asked to write about the Rescue Unit to give people an idea of what it is and what we do, we first thought of how the two are inexorably linked as Rescue does not work or happen without Marshals or Marshalling.
The Rescue Unit is a key part to the marshalling weekend.
Why is this not #alifeinorange? It is really, we just happen to wear our red overalls to differentiate us at an incident scene. So, what does a day on the Rescue Unit entail? In the week building up to a meeting, we exchange emails to check all the crew who have volunteered for that meeting have the correct information; tickets, location and sign on time. Other vital things that we would need to sort out would be, who is bringing the Unit from its storage location, check that it is ready for use, fuelled up and good to go.
The crew will consist of at least three MSA trained personnel at a minimum. The ideal number would be four and an unwritten maximum of six. Lots would be great, but where would we put everyone? We do have trainee Rescue Crew on-board but they cannot count as one of the three official crew members.
On the day of a race meeting, we would go and sign-on to record our attendance. Once signed-on we would liaise with the other Rescue Unit at the meeting if two Units are required. At Oulton Park, we operate with two, our sister unit at the weekend was the ‘BRSCC Midlands’ crew. It’s always good to chat with our fellow crew so that we know that if there is a big incident we can call on them to back us up and vice versa, and we all know what our roles would be. The next thing we do is to get into our position ready for the start of the day; this would normally be at Island bend or Lodge corner.
Island Bend is one of the Rescue Unit’s positions. (Photo Credit – Elliot Wrench – 13/08/16)
The reason for these two locations is purely for reaction time, meaning that if there is an incident large enough that race control may send for us, then we are able to cover about half the track layout. Ideally we need to be at an incident within 90 seconds from notification. What normally happens on the Unit is that we will hear a radio call, not necessarily directly to us, but we tend to get ready, start the engine and shut the doors. Most of the time there is no need for us, but we are always ready.
If the call is for us then we are on our way within seconds; the blue lights are on, the sirens are going and the radio message tells us where on the circuit the incident is and any relevant information that could help. We’ve an idea of what we may face but rely on the Post Chief, Incident Officer and Marshals on scene to fill us in on exactly what has happened. This is vitally important as it gives our Crew Chief and the rest of the crew an overview of an incident we haven’t seen happen. The mechanism of injury is crucial in how we would deal with any incident and how we may extricate a driver trapped or injured in a car.
We rely on the marshal’s support in many roles at a scene; they may be creating a screen using large sheets to protect a scene that could be sensitive and they also provide extra hands to aid us too. There can be some unfortunate and difficult incidents to deal with, but we work as a team to do the very best we can.
The Rescue Unit is a mixture of Medical and Rescue equipment. We carry equipment to extricate trapped or injured drivers and help our medical staff in their roles. We have training in extrication techniques and also the equipment we may need to pass to the medical professionals we support. Running up a drip or operating a defibrillator, airway management and patient handling to name a few more, are all things we are trained in doing or assisting with.
We enjoy a laugh and a joke, but when it gets serious the true camaraderie shines through
We are a small group of people and it helps that we can all get on socially, not just in our official capacity. Without this camaraderie, the Rescue Unit just wouldn’t work. We spend a lot of time together around the country, so to have your mates with you is the best way to do it. Besides, they know how you like your tea and your preferred type of cake don’t they?!
If anyone would like to know more or come and have a look at our cake cupboard, then come and say hello at a future meeting. We’re a friendly bunch!
Written By Elliot Wrench