Your group (DRAGG) recently had an eye opening experience when a couple of your drivers suffered injury. As a result, safety and how to improve things is on everyone’s mind, not just the people in your group!
This is a small community and when one driver suffers we all suffer and it affects us all.
The Face Book page is not really a place where we want to point our flaws out for the world to see. And while this is also a public access forum, it’s a lot more hidden from outside eyes.
So I would like to use this as a time and place for us to pass along some safety ideas that will be beneficial to anyone that is anticipating or already participating in our sport.
This way we can all share our personal experiences as to what works, what doesn’t work, what are good ideas and what are bad ideas. Hopefully from this we can all have more fun,less injuries and much more intense and rewarding racing.
SO HERE WE GO!
I’d like to pass along some more info regarding safety and safety plans the way we do things in MISFITS so you guys can think about it and use what works best for you. Please understand we are NOT trying to take over or to criticize you guys for what you do or how you do it. We’re just trying to pass along some information from what we have learned that we think may be a help to you guys. What you plan to do with it is entirely up to you, but it’s our sincere hope that this will help your group and be a benefit to everyone involved.
Every group has different situations to deal with, so what works for one group may not work well for another. So you guys will have to decide if any thing here makes sense and if you want to implement it or not. It works for us. It may not work for you.
One important thing to remember is that in an emergency situation, sometimes it’s not easy to think straight. And if you have a lot of confusion when you need clear thinking, it can really hurt you. So it’s important to have a good plan in place and that everyone knows what their role is and what is expected of them.
It’s important that you know what the abilities of the people in your group are and that they each know what you need them to do in the event of an emergency.
For example, in our group, everyone knows if someone is bleeding, I am NOT the person they want to go help! I’ll pass out and fall over and then they will have 2 people to take care of. But I can do other things like get the carts all collected and loaded and, deal with law enforcement when they show up, so that Chris, Becky and Darla can work on the patient without being disturbed or interrupted.
For our group here on the east coast, many of the hills we run are not in urban areas. As a result,sometimes we don’t have cell service. So if someone gets hurt we may not be able to call for an ambulance, or we may need to drive several miles before we are able to get phone service.
So we have tried to put together a system that enables us to do as much as we can without calling for that help, or before needing to call for help.
First we have our Emergency/Contact info system in place. Each driver has to fill out forms at the beginning of the season BEFORE they can race. These forms include who to call in the event of an emergency and also their medical information, any allergies, any drugs/medications,they are taking, medical history, medical insurance information, etc.
That info goes into a SEALED envelope with your name and your race name on the outside and they all go into our emergency response book that is kept with our emergency response bag. If someone gets injured, that book and bag goes along to the hospital and the forms for that driver are handed over to the emergency responders and other medical people.
When we put this thing together, our thoughts were that it would be used if a driver was unconscious and unable to give this information to first responders. But when Doc Hudson got hurt, he was conscious and awake and had no problem communicating. But he couldn’t remember critical things like the names of the medications he was taking each morning, or answers to other questions that were being asked of him.
This wasn’t because of the injury or the trauma he suffered,but just because he didn’t know the names of the drug. He could tell the Doctors he took a little white and yellow pill each morning but he didn’t know the drug name and they needed that before they could start to give him any sort of pain medication or begin other treatment of his injuries.
Becky had the Emergency forms right there, and the medical staff was very impressed! They had ALL the answers they were looking for right there and didn’t have to try to get answers out of a person in a lot of pain and discomfort.
Those forms were handed off from one level to the next as he first went from the accident scene to a local walk in emergency clinic and then got loaded into an ambulance and sent 40 miles to the hospital best suited for dealing with his type of injury.
We got a lot of thanks from each of those places as they reviewed the forms and they were very impressed – especially the hospital. They specialize in all sorts of sports injuries and they never had anyone come in with that type of information in hand before. It was a big help to them and they were able to start treatment much faster as a result.
Medications you are on, any allergies you have, as well as your alcohol and legal or illegal drug use, and medical history may not be something you want to share with strangers, but this can be very important information for the trauma staff to have in the event you are the person on their table.
We are very fortunate to have Chris and Becky involved in our group. (Chris is also a great photographer, so if you do crash, he will come and get some really good photos of your injuries before you get any help!)
But seriously, Chris has his big emergency bag at every race and he is able to administer any type of first response we may need.
All of our cars (except the Spec Cars) are equipped with a detachable steering wheel. This not only helps us get in and out of the car, but it also helps to be able to get an injured driver out of the car. If you have an injury, you may not be able to bend in the same way you do when you normally get out of the car. So being able to remove the wheel gives a lot more room and can aide with extracting an injured driver.
Many of our cars also run a double U-joint collapsible section in the steering column. That helps to keep the column from becoming a spear that is aimed at your face or chest in the event of a frontal impact that causes the car to crumple and bend up.
As part of our emergency response package, we have 2 Dewalt battery operated Sawzalls with a nice assortment of NEW blades and several charged batteries ready to go at every race. This is so we can cut the car apart in order to get a driver out if we need to. Fortunately this part of our system has not been tested, but it’s a comfort to know it’s there and ready to go if we need it.
Being able to have this type of equipment on hand can mean that by the time outside emergency equipment and personnel shows up we can already have that driver ready for transport. That time savings may make a big difference in the outcome.
Plus it enables us to get a driver out of a car without having to move them more then may be comfortable or safe to do as a result of their injuries.
Chris’s bag, as well as the saws are in the chase car that follows us down the hill. In the event of an incident, they will either stop and administer aide, or they proceed down the hill, collect Chris and speed him back up to the incident. In the event the chase car doesn’t arrive at the bottom, we always have another car waiting to get Chris back up the hill as quickly as possible.
The flaw in our system is that Chris is not allowed to get hurt if he crashes! But if he does,Becky is also able to step in and take over.
Something I was not aware of that Chris has pointed out to us, is the big differences in what capabilities a fire station has. Some have a rescue squad that is able to come out and give life saving care on the spot. Others are volunteer where they may not even have someone available to drive the ambulance to come out and scoop you up and drive you to the hospital.
So we try to figure out where the closest fire department is to a race hill and also what capabilities they have. Sometimes, it’s best NOT to call the closest place, but to contact a station a little farther away that has better equipment and better response capabilities.
And if we do need to call 911, we make sure we tell the operator exactly what sort of response and equipment we need so that the call doesn't get handed off to the wrong fire station.
We also determine where the closest hospital or emergency care facility is. AND we print directions from the hill to that hospital. Those go into our emergency book so if we need them we are able to pull them out and we know exactly how to get someone to the closest hospital without getting lost or having to wait for a GPS to get satellite information and tell us where to go. It’s all about being ready and knowing what to do and where to go with the least amount of confusion possible.
And our Emergency Contact forms are really important. Our racers are my CLOSE friends. They spend a lot of time at my place building their cars, hanging out, doing cookouts, and other fun stuff. But I may not know who to call in the event one of them gets hurt. And I may not have the number. So that Emergency Contact sheet gives us ready access to information we may need in the event someone gets hurt.
We also went through a period where we discovered the hard way that we didn’t have a good system in place. A driver crashes halfway down the hill and the rest of us all arrive at the bottom of the hill. That’s when we discover that the guy a mile away up the hill in a ditch is the one who’s car is the one parked at the bottom to take us back up the hill. And HE has the keys!
So we often make sure we bring a spare key to our car and give that to someone else, or we have a “hide a key” that we make sure a couple other people in the group know where it is in case something happens to you.
All this stuff isn’t going to keep an accident from happening, but it may make a big difference in the outcome if you have a good plan in place and know ahead of time what to do if things do go wrong.
And one last thing for now, we encourage every driver to put their name, blood type, allergies, date of birth, and social security number on the back of their helmet. This is a carry over from motor sports. If a driver needs to be transported for care, their helmet goes with them and that critical information is right there for emergency personnel to see as soon as they get the patient. This can save critical minutes in them being able to start their life saving procedures.