Corner Marshals Fire School
Corner Marshals Fire School
Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX
Saturday, June 17, 2017
The Corner Marshals Fire School presented at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, June 17, 2017 was a resounding success thanks to Roy Spielmann (COTA), Bryan Gregory (SCCA Southwest Division), Jim Johnstone and Betina Foreman (SCCA Lone Star Region), Van Ladendorf (SCCA Houston Region), CVAR, NASA and Travis County Fire Rescue.
A catered breakfast, as well as homemade breakfast tacos, were available at the COTA Media Center at 08:00 on Saturday morning thanks to happy hands on preparation by Ms. Foreman.
Roy Spielmann, Senior Manager of Motorsports Operations at COTA, provided the welcoming presentation beginning at 08:30 sharp. Mr. Spielmann has an impressive resume with 6 years serving as an Air Force Fire Fighter; 25 years as a paramedic and fire fighter with the North Shore FD in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and years of safety team experience with CART, ChampCar, IndyCar and Road America.
Jim Johnstone (SCCA Lone Star Region) then provided an in depth presentation of corner worker safety issues and procedures through a series of still photos, videos and personal anecdotes gleaned from his many years of participation as an Flagging and Communications worker and safety officer.
The 60 participants were then divided into two teams, with the first team being dispatched for their field training at the Travis County Fire Rescue facility down the road from COTA. There, they were briefed on the use of the Cold Fire™ and dry chemical fire bottles. After a review of the proper procedures for deploying both systems, each participant was provided with an opportunity to extinguish a simulated car fire which used the bottom third of a metal 55 gallon drum filled with a mixture of old motor oil and kerosene, which was then inserted inside the body shell of a Triumph Spitfire and set alight.
While team 1 was in the field, team 2 was provided with a presentation by Mr. Johnstone focusing on “what NOT to wear” in regards to fire safety, and why. Mr. Johnstone again provided still photos, videos and personal anecdotes illustrating the characteristics of cotton, cotton-poly blends, nylon, Kevlar, Nomex® and other Aramid fibers when exposed to open flame. These examples included video demonstrations of N.C. State's College of Textiles Pyroman, which is an instrumented manikin made of a heat-resistant composite material, and containing 122 thermal sensors distributed all over its simulated body. The Pyroman demonstrations provided a frighteningly realistic example of why we don’t wear synthetic blend clothing of any kind when on the race track. Addressed also were suggestions as to where to find appropriate clothing for corner workers and other volunteers, with examples ranging from simple cotton treated with fire retardant chemical up to full coverage Nomex® jump suits.
A catered lunch was provided about mid-day, after which the teams traded places to complete their training for the day. After which, the entire group of participants reconvened at the COTA Media Center conference room for a closing recap by Mr. Johnstone, followed by a drawing of door prizes consisting of caps, posters, framed photographs, and pins.
As was illustrated by Mr. Johnstone, this was the second Corner Marshals Fire School presented at Circuit of the Americas. But, unlike the first iteration 2 years ago, this presentation was a highly collaborative effort involving COTA, SCCA Southwest Division, the various SCCA regions in Texas, CVAR, NASA and Travis County Fire Rescue. The desire of the organizers, presenters and facilitators of this effort is to provide this professional level of training on a regular basis to volunteer workers regardless of affiliation.
If you have any questions or desire additional information, please contact Betina Foreman (SCCA Lone Star Region) or myself.
Robin Arthur Gustavson
SCCA Member 512750
Flagging and Communications
Don Couch Photography
Here is the link to Don Couch Photography ..
Please provide appropriate attribution if you use any of these images