1. #1
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    dragonfyre's Avatar
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    Default Race Track Firefighting

    Don't see anywhere else to put this info. The link will take you to a local news broadcast of a track incident in upstate NY.

    Can't believe the reponse to the crash. Pay close attention to the lack of PPE and the driver's feelings about the crew.

    http://www.fox23news.com/mediacenter...m&navCatId=158
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
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    Wow WTF were they thinking with no turnout gear on
    EVERY track needs a REAL fire crew there, That was not a real fire crew
    Firefighter for Vestal 32-2

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    Just a few comments:

    First, that's probably not a firetruck. I'll bet that's nothing more than a water truck used to wet down the track prior to the races. I've been going to short track races my whole life (40 years) and I've been to many a race where there were no, zip, zero, nil fire apparatus or firefighters present. Before I joined the fire service I never thought a thing about it, but now it irks me to no end. I've actually left one event after I saw no suppression or EMS resouces onsite.

    If I'm right, those guys aren't trained firefighters and thus wouldn't have turnout gear or the knowledge and resources to handle a gasoline fire.

    As far as the driver's comments, I'll bet he never thought about the track's fire and rescue assets until he desperately needed them - just like most everyone else we deal with daily.

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    I attended a SFI Response to Drag Racing Incidents Class (Safety Foundation Inc.) which covered just about everything that needs to be covered. Most of the class consisted of emergency personnell, but a few track owners were present. One track owner made the comment during the break that at the beginning of the season he went to wal-mart and bought 6 fire extinguishers for the year. I think SFI requrements are to have a water/foam mixture of no less than 60 gallons. Amazing the stuff that people get by with at events like this.
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    The reason I brought this up is I'm an assistant chief at Pocono in charge of pits 1-24. I'm also doing the training of the pit firefighters and when I saw this I was amazed that something like this would/could happen at a track.

    NASCAR mandates we use Purple K extinguishers and we have one firefighter and extinguisher in every pit and one at the head of Pits 1 & 25 so we have 45 firefighters in the pits. We also have four 125's (wheel-horses) spread throughtout the pits. All of our trucks are equipped with a P-K and Cold Ice Extinguishers and a 125. We would never think of using water on any fire we would have.

    Also everyone is assigned a fire suit in NASCAR red and an over the wall helmet. Even before the track invested in the suits everyone was in at least a nomex jump suit, nomex hood and gloves.

    I realize that not every track has the budget to have a staff like we do but they can at least invite the local fire company to stand by for a small fee. At least that way they might get closer to having what they need.

    I guess the only way things will change is if the insurance companies that cover the tracks get involved.
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".
    http://www.bufd7.org

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    Angry It's all about the Benjamins

    Unfortunately, this scenario has the potential of occuring at many of the small "Mom & Pop" tracks that can be found across the country. Most small promoters don't have to provide anything more than the most rudimentary level of suppression/safety/EMS provisions, usually only for insurance reasons. If the participants are really lucky, the local FD or rescue MAY be asked to stand-by during hot-track periods, but what level of equipment or training that they bring along is usually a crap shoot.

    It's only at the larger venues (Daytona, Indy, Road America, etc.) and National/International series (NASCAR, NHRA, Open Wheel, etc.) that you'll usually find the full-time, professionally trained and equiped safety teams.

    There is even a NFPA standard (610) which addresses safety operations at motorsports events, but most promoters wouldn't have the first clue about it until the lawyers bring it up during a civil suit deposition...

    (btw, you CAN control and extinguish flammable liquid fires with H2O IF something like ColdFire, FireAde2000, or F500 agents are added and the resulting mix is properly applied)
    Last edited by NEOgreg; 07-06-2007 at 02:33 PM.
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    That's why I keep at least a 5 pound ABC extinguisher in my race car to at least protect me while I'm trying to escape in the event of a fire. This is mandated at the track I race at as on board automatic suppression systems are not. You'd be surprised at the people that keep a half charged bottle or beat-up bottle that you can tell hasn't been removed from the hanger much less inspected in a while. The track keeps the local FD on stand-by in the pits, wearing appropriate PPE. They respond in a mini-pumper with rescue tools and usually at least one hops off with the extinguisher when they respond.
    Just know, I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

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    Angry Fire fighting between the guard rails

    That video is a prime example why those of us that do volunteer at the major speedways are very supportive of NFPA 610.
    I know one of the people that was on the committee that created that standard. He spent many years working as a fire fighter and then as the Director of Operations at Watkins Glen International. He now works in the risk management department of WGI's parent company, International Speedway Corp. If I sent him this video, well let's just say his words would not be printable in this forum, but his, and my thoughts are that what I saw was appaling.
    Those people that showed up to this incident in the pick up truck have no right to call them selves fire fighters. They could have at least had nomex suits with head, eye and hand protection on. The street clothes they were wearing were had best cotton and at worst highly flammable.
    As stated above, yes you can fight Class B fires with water with an addative. At WGI we use Cold Fire mixed to a 6% solution in the booster tanks of two trucks and a 10% mixture in all pressurized water extinguishers. We also do carry ABC dry chem extinguishers in all 5 of our trucks and at all 17 flag stations. We have dry chem and PW extinguishers in the pits and on our 3 gators that cover the pits, paddock, and garage. If that fire had happened at WGI, we could have had it out with one hand line off the first due truck backed up by a second line from the 2nd due. We would have soaked the driver first in the water/Cold Fire mixture enough to decrease the serverity of his burns, then put out the car fire. Life safety is always first!
    It is this type of total disregard for national standards that can not only get people hurt, or worse, but causes a feeding frenzy for the lawyers. New York is supposed to be a NFPA compliant state, but it looks like some people haven't gotten the message, yet.
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