WHP Motorsports Park to take over own fire and life safety operations
January 10, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
For over three years, the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (WHPMP) has been hard at work dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s in order to provide fire services and life safety operations at their own facilities. In recent years, the park has utilized the Gila River Fire Department (GRFD) for their services, but has done so at a high cost.
On Dec. 29, the WHPMP met all requirements outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement approved by Gila River Indian Community’s Council under resolution GR-180-16, meaning they will be able to begin their own Fire and Rescue Services starting January 7.
Bob Stose, WHPMP Director of Safety & Fire Services, said that WHPMP has been working with the Gila River Indian Community to make sure their equipment, paperwork, training, and crew are up to Community standards.
“We didn’t just want to jump into doing rescue without having everything that we need to be able to do it,” Stose said. “We want to feel confident and we want the Community to feel confident that we are…putting our best foot forward to provide that service…to the racers and spectators,” he said.
Stose, who has 30 years of paramedic experience, 20 years in the fire service, and around 10 years of motorsports rescue under his belt, said all of the guys on his crews will have the proper certification and experience needed to work on their safety trucks and ambulances.
“You have to have your Fire Fighter 1 and 2 [certifications],” said Stose. “You also have to be extraction trained and certified. You also have to go through my class as well which is an SFI [incident response training] class. You need all of this to be able to work in one of the safety trucks,” he said.
GRFD Fire Chief, Thomas Knapp, said one of the benefits of WHPMP taking over its own fire safety and rescue services will be that many of WHPMP’s crew will have a lot of experience dealing with racing events and accidents.
“A lot of the folks that are on this team…have been doing this for years,” said Knapp.
Another benefit to the park will be financial; they will be able to save a bit of money by using their own employees. “They won’t have to pay our hourly rate plus our vehicle charge. And, we do that with off-duty folks. It is not economical for the track to operate that way because they have to pay the overtime. Every time they use us it is not free,” he said.
“This is a culmination of three and half years of planning, training, and getting the funds to equip the track to be self-sustaining for fire crash rescue,” Knapp said.
“The fire department stepped up and was able to provide the service for an interim but it lasted longer than we wanted or needed. Where we are at today is, we believe that they are ready and we will be able to turn over all the racing operations to them so they can schedule more efficiently and operate and provide safety to the racers and the events that take place out here.”
The first event of the New Year will be “Go Fast Entertainment Drift N’ Drags” on Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. For more information about the event visit racewildhorse.net or call 480-363-7583.