Indianapolis 500

Medical staff ready for a busy Indy 500 weekend

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Police officers are hard at work this weekend patrolling all around the speedway but they aren’t the only people making sure race fans have a safe and fun weekend.

EMTs, paramedics, and other medical personnel work around the clock.

In Lot 1, formally known as the Coke Lot, two EMT crews complete with three members patrol overnight Friday. The number will increase to five crews Saturday night. But inside the track, the number of staff handling the crowd increases greatly.

Marching between the hordes of people enjoying Carb Day is a dedicated and sober group, worried less about partying and more about others.

“We’re asking folks just use good judgement, make good decisions,” said Carl Rochelle, Indianapolis Emergency Management Services spokesman.

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Often times on Indy 500 weekend, people don’t use good judgement nor make good decisions.

And if it’s not a matter for police to handle, usually it’s the EMTs and paramedics. 90 of them work inside the track. That number will increase to 120 on race day.

“As reports come of possibly an injured person or a person that is perhaps missing, we field that and then we decide exactly assets might be needed to address the situation,” said Everett Cheney, Battalion Chief, Speedway Fire Department.

The number one call they say they get is an unresponsive person, but usually they say it’s just someone passed out after a few too many drinks and a long day in the sun.

It’s why they’re urging people to stay hydrated and not with the help of beer or caffeinated drinks.

“That dehydration as you take in alcohol and in take in less water it sneaks up on a person. Couple that with lack of sleep, that makes for a rough weekend,” said Cheney.

So far, officials said it’s been a quiet start to the weekend.

The cooler weather helped meaning less people needed a trip to the medical tent for heat exhaustion.

But as the sun sets and the camping grounds fill up, medical staff will use these carts to go places ambulances can’t.

“They’re three-person teams. We accept 911 calls, we also accept walk-ups,” Rochelle said of the campground staff.

But officials said most calls can be avoided if people follow two simple rules.

“Drink plenty of water, get some rest,” pleaded Rochelle. “And come out and enjoy the race.”

The medical staff outside of the track isn’t only focused on the campers.

If a 911 call happens in the neighborhoods nearby, the crews here would be the first to respond since they’re the closest.

Over the course of a day, officials said they get between 20-30 incidents of people needing help in the campgrounds.

They add that number could be a little bit lower if the weather stays cool since often times those calls can be for heat exhaustion.

When it’s dark outside, Rochelle said common issues they encounter in the campgrounds are trips and falls. He said it can be tough for people to see and maneuver between the tents, especially if they’re tipsy.

And even though the sun is down, he said dehydration is still an issue if people hadn’t been drinking enough water throughout the day and continue to stay awake.

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