THE CANADIAN MOTORSPORTS RESPONSE TEAM
When people think of the auto racing industry, from stock car to Formula 1 and everything in between, most, if not all will only think of the drivers and the crews. What people don’t see or think about are the crews that, more often than not, go unnoticed until they are needed. These are the men and women,(paramedics and firefighters) that make up the safety teams that volunteer their time to make sure drivers are cared for if the need should arise.
One of these groups is the men and women of the Canadian Motorsports Response Team Inc.® (CMRT)
CMRT® was formed in 2010 by Dr. Robert Seal the head of Pediatric Anesthesia at the University of Alberta’s Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Dr. Seal has an extensive background in racing and acts as the Chief Medical Officer for the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres including the FIA World Rally Cross Event as well as Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the Honda Indy of Toronto.
With the changing landscape of racing (faster cars, improved and more complicated driver safety devices) Dr. Seal saw a need for an adaptable and highly trained safety team so, with the help of Bruce MacDonald, a retired Paramedic, drag racer and advocate for race track safety, they drew from some of the most experienced Paramedics, Fire Fighters, Doctors, Nurses and Respiratory Therapists across the country to form what would become CMRT®.
After spending the first year and a half recruiting, training and purchasing equipment CMRT® became the exclusive Medical and Rescue Team for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada in Montreal as well as the Safety Team for Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta. The following year, the team became the exclusive Safety Team for the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres which includes the only North American stop for the FIA World Rally Cross. The team also staffs and equips the competitor medical center for the Trois Rivieres event.
The team trains year round both through on line training and at their training facility at John Abbott College just outside of Montreal. To allow for the most realistic training that can be done, the team has a replica Formula 1 Car with extractible seat, a NASCAR style stock car, a late model style stock car, 3 different styles of racing seats as well as helmets and frontal head restraints. This year, in preparation for the Trois Rivieres event, members of the team travelled to the IMSA event in Ontario to learn about a new car that would be competing for the first time in order to prepare the rest of the team. This proactive style was welcomed by both the competitors and the IMSA staff and was a first.
To supplement their training, the team has developed professional relationships with experts both inside and outside the racing industry: J. Gordon Routly, a District Commander and Fire Service Engineer with the City of Montreal Fire Department has assisted in developing the teams Incident Command Structure as well as fire fighting practices; Doug Hill, a race track consultant and member of the NFPA 610 (a guide for emergency and safety operations at motorsport venues) committee and insurance specialist assists with equipment standards and track characteristics.
When not busy preparing training, preparing a pre event plan, a post event report, some key members of the team belong to the International Council of Motorsports Sciences (ICMS), a group of industry experts who strive to make racing safer from both sides of the fence through research and proven practices. Dr. Seal and Bruce MacDonald sit on the ICMS board of directors with Dr. Seal heading up the education committee.
In December of 2015, members of CMRT® and the Holmatro® Safety Team hosted the inaugural Race Track Safety Program and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show in Indianapolis. The program included both didactic presentations as well as hands on presentations to track safety crews, doctors and nurses. The program concluded with Indy Car extrication demonstrations by the Holmatro® Safety Team, as well as stock car and sprint car extrications by CMRT®. Members of the team also did presentations at this year’s Pre Hospital Care Conference in Gatineau, Quebec.
The RTSP will return for its second year at this year’s PRI Show, again with didactic sessions, hands on learning as well as demonstrations from the Holmatro® Safety Team lead by Mike Yates, the Eldora Speedway Safety Team and CMRT®. For more information about the RTSP please visit www.theicms.org and follow the links.
As the Canadian racing landscape grows, the need for safety crews should grow as well. CMRT® will continue to grow and welcome new members from the first responder community to assist us in making racers feel more comfortable with our presence. For more information about CMRT and our partners, please browse this web site.