TTASA Basic Safety Marshal Training Session

TTASA Basic Safety Marshal Training Session

Wikipedia defines motorsport marshals as “paid or volunteer workers responsible for the safety of motor racing competitors. They are stationed at various points of danger around race tracks to assist them in case of any collisions, accidents or track problems”. Last weekend, the Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Sport Association (TTASA) hosted a Marshal Training session at Wallerfield International Raceway in order to introduce new marshals and reinforce existing marshals to trackside safety protocols, incident scenario and fire training.

TTASA was assisted by Safe-Tec Ltd. who sponsored the fire extinguishers and fire wardens for the day. Bringing a range of CO2 and dry chemical (ABC) hand portable extinguishers, Safe-Tec also supplied  comprehensive 12 page fire safety booklets to those in attendance. TTASA and Safe-Tec already had a long standing relationship whereby Safe-Tec sponsors the maintenance of the fire extinguishers and fire safety gear at the Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway and supplies trained fire wardens at large events. For this training session Safe-Tec also provided Fire Wardens and Administration staff to assist with the training. On Sunday that Safe-Tec team attended the Circuit Racing practice event and showed interest in signing up as motorsport marshals.

The days activities at Wallerfield were broken up into :

  1. Theory session on types and use of fire extinguishers and a practical session using different types of fire extinguishers, hosted by trained SafeTec Fire Wardens.
  2. Demonstration and practical session with the jaws-of-life tool hosted by TTASA’s Roger Hutcheon.
  3. Different types of flags used in racing and when and how to display them hosted by TTASA’s Ryan Peyrau.
  4. Incident Scenario Training where the marshals were taken out onto the track and incidents were simulated, led by TTASA’s Devi Nath.

This session enforced what some of the marshals already knew ( at least 12 of the Ford Club Marshals had prior FIA marshal training carried out in 2016) and with no events for most of 2020 due to covid, this session was a great refresher.

The training session started just after at 11am with fire training. SafeTec’s Fire Warden held a 45 minute session on hand portable Fire Extinguisher Training. Reference was continuously made to the supplied booklet which covered topics such as firefighting concepts, how a fire works, different combustibles, fire extinguisher types, emergency response procedures and theory on how to fight a fire. 

Participants were then moved to a practical session in which the Safe-Tec fire marshals lit a controlled demonstration fire and showed the correct way to extinguish. All attending marshals and TTASA officials were given an opportunity to extinguish the fire themselves, gaining valuable practical experience. Marshals were given to extinguish the demo fires more than once, some up to 4 and 5 times.

The second session included a Jaws of Life demonstration. Roger Hutcheon went on to explain how to use the tool, the stance and grip required. Then demonstrated it on some metal scrap. Followed by inviting all marshals to try it themselves.

After a 30 min lunch break featuring “Pelau”, a local dish provided by the Ford Club Marshals, Ryan Peyrau went on to the Flagging session. The flags used by race marshals at international racing events around the world are used to communicate between the marshals and the competitors, including the green flag, red flag, white flag and checkered flag among others. During the session, it was explained what each flag meant, when to use them and how to hold or wave each one in order to communicate the message properly. Drivers are also trained on this. Other important marshalling points that were stressed on were communication with Race officials and what to do in case of a track incident. All of this is included in the Basic Marshal Guide that was handed out by TTASA.

The final session of the day was the Incident Scenario training led by TTASA’s Management team. Devi Nath was assisted by Kasey Ramoutar, Ryan Peyrau and Fyzool Madan. All marshals were taken out to a marshal post on the  track where different incidents were simulated. The marshals, who were broken up into teams, had to respond. This included scenarios such as: broken down race car in the middle of the track with other race vehicles around, unresponsive driver inside a vehicle, marshals forced to cross the track with oncoming traffic, communicating via radio with race officials etc.

 The day was concluded with a final Q & A session and the handing out of certificates by President Fyzool Madan. Also present was the president of the Ford Club of Trinidad and Tobago Mr Keith D’arbeau. TTASA would like to thank all that were involved. 

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