Darlington emergency crews go over race day preparations

Darlington emergency crews go over race day preparations

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The big race in Darlington may only last a few hours, but the preparation it takes to have everything run smoothly takes months.

Conor McCue met with the Emergency Services team to see everything they do before, during, and after the race to take care of the fans and drivers.

For a place with a nickname just as daunting as the track itself, Robert Garland has been trying to keep control for years.

"I thought, sure, fire and rescue, how hard can it be? Well… I found out," chuckled Robert Garland as he remembered the day he was given the reigns at the Darlington Raceway.

For the past five years, Garland has served as Emergency Services Director for the track. His job is to coordinate all the training and preparation for crews leading up to race day.

That means, fire, EMS, clean-up crews, and many more are all under his control,

"It's a small city," He described. "It takes a lot of equipment to run it."

Leading up to race day, you'll find all those crews hard at work, preparing for every possible scenario.

Foam barriers are checked constantly, new walls are put in, and Garland himself, will even walk the track to make sure even the smallest messes are cleaned up.

"I've often thought that this places manufactures its own screws and nuts, because they keep coming up everywhere," laughed Garland.

Crews also spend time preparing for different scenarios that may come up.

In the stands, that means going through different fan emergencies. On the track, they practice situations with cars they hope they won't have to encounter.

"We'll cut them, and we've got one we actually set on fire, and they have to put it out," Garland explained.

Garland says his crews leave no stone unturned leading up to race day, because his number one priority is whose sitting up in the stands.

"I take this as, like I said, a city, and it's kind of my city, and I want people to be happy and be safe," He said.

For Garland and the crews, the work doesn't stop once the race is over.

Workers immediately walk the entire track, looking for bolts, trash, and fluid spills so the track stays just as safe for next year.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.