INDIANAPOLIS — The greatest spectacle in racing returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in less than three weeks.
Hundreds of thousands of fans are preparing to make the trip to Indianapolis and the surrounding suburbs for race day and the festivities around it. IMPD and other local agencies are preparing to keep all those visitors safe.
”We look at our plan, we test it, we just make sure things are as they say they are,” said IMPD Special Operations Commander Brian Mahone.
Mahone said IMPD starts to put this plan together months in advance and they plan for everything.
”Imagine everything that comes into the security of a small city and that’s what we look and plan for,” Mahone said.
IMS handles what goes on inside the Speedway, while IMPD and its host of partners handle what goes on outside.
Mahone said they work with Speedway Police, local fire departments, Indianapolis EMS and federal partners.
After a two-year pandemic, some agencies might be rusty but Mahone said agencies in Indianapolis stayed ready by hosting national championships and the entire NCAA Basketball Tournament in 2021.
“There is now a blueprint for that, we hosted 68 teams here in Indianapolis for more than a month during a pandemic lockdown,” Mahone said. “It put our team to the test. There were some good things that came out of that, there were some lessons learned. I think we got better, we got sharper.”
Dan O’Donnell the Chief of Indianapolis EMS echoed Mahone’s words about staying sharp. He said IEMS has been planning for the 500 since last June.
”I don’t think well be too rusty, I think we’ll be ready for this thing,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said EMS will have a mobile command center and all-terrain vehicles to respond to any calls amongst the masses of people surrounding IMS in the days before the race.
“We will actually staff it with two physicians that can maybe do some treat and release, minor cuts, bumps, scratches, bruises,” O’Donnell said.
With this being the first full capacity 500 in three years, O’Donnell is expecting people to be eager to get back to the race and all the festivities leading up to it.
”I think a few days before there are going to be a lot of folks coming in town early and wanting to be a part of the whole spectacle,” he said.
For those going to the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500, O’Donnell recommends finding your closest source of shade and water as soon as you get inside IMS. He said heat-related emergency calls are one of the biggest issues IEMS deals with.