SPEEDWAY, Ind.– While Hoosiers get ready for the Indianapolis 500, emergency crews are making their own preparations for the race weekend.
“We drink lots of water, lots of water. That’s what we do,” Brent Reed said.
Reed has traveled to the Kentucky Derby, a youth horse show in Ohio and now the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the past month to sell pizza. He’s visited the track for at least half a dozen years, operating Fire in the Hole Wood Fired Pizzas.
“Stay hydrated, wear your sunscreen, I see sunburnt people every year here I feel so sorry for them,” Reed said.
They’re tips Indianapolis EMS wants people to remember too as they prepare for anything and everything. They see everything from heat stroke to bumps and bruises and the effects of drinking.
“It kind of becomes a little bit of a cocktail of its own of things that can go wrong with you,” IEMS public affairs manager Brian VanBokkelen said.
So this week they’re getting supplies, the mobile command unit and a trailer serving as a mobile emergency department the night before the race ready.
“On race day the track is this second largest city in the entire state so when you get that many people into one place especially last year with the heat that we saw your just it’s a recipe for all of that bad stuff happening,” VanBokkelen said.
IEMS said last year there were 363 calls outside the track and 450 inside on race day.
IEMS reminds people going to the race to drink water and hydrate, wear protective clothing and sun hats, wear sun screen and to not wait to look for help if you don’t feel well.
“Plan for everything,” VanBokkelen said.
An additional thing to plan for this year is scooters. Lime said it will deploy more than 1,000 throughout Indianapolis for the Indy 500.
“Be very careful you have to be on them, please don’t drink and ride a scooter. Understand if you’re taking them, if that’s your transportation down to the track, you’re gonna be riding them within a realm of 300,000 people and cars coming in and all the activities that go on with race weekend,” VanBokkelen said.
Officials said there will be designated parking on Allison Way for scooters where people can drop them off, then walk to the track. During the race crews will charge them. Riders coming from downtown are asked to take the designated route, 10th St. to Allison Way. 10th St. will be closed to normal traffic but will serve as an escort lane for buses.
“Certainly a scooter takes up less space than a car so if it works out and it’s safe it’ll be something that’s incorporated into the larger transportation plan right now we’re not sure what exactly’s going to happen this year. It could be a few people that ride them it could be well over a hundred, we’re just not sure what it’s gonna look like so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s gonna play out,” Speedway town manager Jacob Blasdel said.
Riders are reminded to obey all traffic laws, that riding on the sidewalks is prohibited, to park the scooters in the designated area and be aware of escort traffic.