Mint 400 Tech & Contingency tips (+pit safety) - Graphic pic warning

MasTacos

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I've been working T&C at The Mint for a few years now and I always hate having to tell racers that their helmets, restraint systems or firesuits will not pass Tech.

While I can't ever recall anyone arguing against the safety standard. Failing a piece of gear means racers having to walk back up to the vendors and buying an expensive product at the last minute.

To avoid this I figured I'd post a quick overview not just for the new guys but for some veterans out there as a reminder.

Helmets:
The current BITD Rule Book, on page 21, states:

"Helmets must be of approved by one of the following with the appropriate approval decal attached; Snell SA2010 or SAH2010/SA2015."

To find out if your helmet is compliant, look inside, under the fabric (you may have to hunt around for it a bit with older helmets) to find the sticker that you see here:

images.jpg

350-OFM1__06.jpg.jpg


If the date on that sticker is 2010 or later, you're ok. If it's earlier than 2010, it's going to fail.

HEAD AND NECK RESTRAINTS (I'll call them HANS for ease of writing):

For HANS devices, the current BITD rule book, on page 22, states:

"All head restraints must be replaced or recertified 5 years from month and date of manufacture."

When you look at your HANS device, look for the silver sticker shown below (in some cases, it might be under the fabric of the shoulder piece). The punch-outs will tell you when your device was either manufactured or recertified.

Inspection Tag.jpg

Going forward, SFI is changing the format to make it simpler to determine date of manufacture so you may see this tag instead on newer devices.


FIRE SUITS (graphic picture below):
You've seen the videos, read the warnings and heard the stories about fires. It's the thing that scares us the most when racing and rightly so.

When you strap on a fire suit, whether your in a pit or in the car, you're acknowledging that fire safety is important but, quite often, we fool ourselves into believing that it won't happen to us (anyone done prerunning in tshirts?.... anyone?)

Contrary to popular belief, fire suits will not keep you from being burned, they're there to buy you time (more on that below).

The current BITD rule book, on page 22, states:

"One-piece fire suits are mandatory. Two-piece suits are not permitted. The suits must cover from the neck to the ankles and to the wrists. The suits must not have any holes, rips, and tears or be worn thin. All suits must be manufactured from fire resistant material and shall bear a minimum of an SFI 3.2A/5 or higher Definitions and General Information 22 manufacturer’s certification label."

SFI 3.2A/5 adds more layers of production and buys you a bit more time to get out of the vehicle and away from the car.

Over the past few years, there's always a team that we have to fail because they purchased a go-kart suit. I've also had to fail people for the condition of their suits. If I can see light through your suit it's going to fail and you'll have to buy yourself an early birthday gift.

Somewhere on your suit, you'll see this tag:

sfi1.jpg


PIT GEAR:
I won't go into all the details around pit equipment, it's all in the rulebook on page 18 & 19.

Pit crews are also mandated to be wearing 1 or 2-piece SFI 3.2A/5 fire suits, gloves balaclava and fueler's apron. This is where I see a lot of corners being cut out in the desert. The more experience, well-staffed teams tend to do a better job but smaller teams can also help each other (just ask your neighboring team for help!) to be safe.

This is not a safe fueler's rig (this is is not a staged picture, it was from last year's V2R).
IMG_0875.png

If you see someone getting ready to fuel a car dressed like this, please ask them not to (I gently bullied this young man to hook up with team next to him that had the right gear and things went smoothly).

This is what a fueler's rig should look like (this is mine). I put it together using some of my old racing gear, leather work boots and a two-piece FR suit.
IMG_0973.JPG


Pit fires can and will happen, if you're not prepared, it's going to happen to you. When it does, expect to be burned. How badly will depend greatly on a couple of things.

1) Your gear
2) Your fire plan (who does what when fueling and who does what if a fire breaks out)
3) How calm you remain when it happens

Fire burns through direct contact and radiant heat. The suit will protect you for a short time from direct contact but radiant heat will burn you. This person (they were in the car) was reportedly exposed to fire (radiant heat) for ~10 seconds and received these heat burns (picture well after but you can see what it does). It happens fast.
IMG_0272.JPG


Remember, we all have to go back to our regular jobs on Monday after the race.

I know this is long-winded and I thank people for their patience. If you don't do anything else, READ THE BITD RULEBOOK. It may send up saving you some aggravation, time and some $

Be safe, see you at T&C.
 
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Bro_Gill

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Mas Tacos, I believe that flame resistant one piece coveralls like the type that they use on fuel loading docks are approved as well as actual Structure Fire Turnouts. I submitted these requests when this issue first appeared to be heading to the need for safety gear for fuelers in pits.
 

MasTacos

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Mas Tacos, I believe that flame resistant one piece coveralls like the type that they use on fuel loading docks are approved as well as actual Structure Fire Turnouts. I submitted these requests when this issue first appeared to be heading to the need for safety gear for fuelers in pits.

I can certainly try to do some research but I expect your statement is correct.
 

J Prich

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Awesome info, great job putting all that together.
 

jon coleman

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fuelers in the pits dont have to be stylishly dressed like the driver.old welding leather works good, along with coveralls& thick welding gloves.its usually your hands that get it in a fire.be safe....
 

Pee Wee

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fuelers in the pits dont have to be stylishly dressed like the driver.old welding leather works good, along with coveralls& thick welding gloves.its usually your hands that get it in a fire.be safe....

Best to actually read the rules.

GPT12:
All young children and pets must be kept out of the immediate area where vehicle will pit. Pets must be kept on a leash. All campfires must be kept out of immediate pit area. Campfires must not be placed between the track and pit vehicles. Campfires may not be permitted due to federal and state regulations. No firewood with nails, (ie. pallets.)
All entrants are responsible for cleaning the pit areas they use during the event.Best in the Desert mandates refueling personnel (aka “The Fueler”; the crew member responsible for inserting the fuel nozzle or dry brake during a pit stop) wear a one piece or two piece fire suit minimally rated to the SFI Foundation’s 3.2A/5 manufacturer’s certification. The suit shall cover the crew member from the neck to the ankles and to the wrists. The suit must be free from holes, rips, tears, and not worn thin. Additionally Mandated, SFI Rated Balaclava, SFI 3.3 Rated Fire Retardant gloves and SFI 52.1 Fuel Apron. It is strongly recommend the “fueler” to wear a SNELL SA rated full face helmet. This applies to all fuel delivery systemsincluding dump cans. SFI 3.3 rated fire retardant shoes are also strongly recommended.Additionally for all pit crew members working in the immediate area of a vehicle being fueled,
 

MasTacos

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fuelers in the pits dont have to be stylishly dressed like the driver.old welding leather works good, along with coveralls& thick welding gloves.its usually your hands that get it in a fire.be safe....

I think this works as long as the officials in the pit allow it. The risk you run is rolling up with your kit and having the pit official tell you you can't use it because you're out of spec with the rulebook.
 

Pee Wee

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Your best bet is to follow the written rule.
Or you can always try your own method and complain on RDC how BITD sucks for enforcing their rules.
 

EMS702

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We on the safety team do our best to patrol the pits and be sure that rules are followed. Gas mat down, fire extinguishers at the ready, and proper safety gear for those dispensing the fuel. Our goal is to to make it so our team can enjoy the race and not have to have someone flown out for burns. Just when you think it won't happen to you, it will. Having a DQ for not following the rules and taking safety to heart ruins every ones day. At the end of the day we just wish to all go home safe.
 

Crusty Shellback

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I would like to add to make sure those on your team understand how to properly use the fire extinguishers you have. Most people do not have a good understanding of how to use them.

One thing I get taught at work every year is PASS.

PULL the pin
AIM at the base of the fire
SQUEEZE the handle
SWEEP the hose at the base of the fire.

Also be aware that with a CO2 bottle, make sure you are holding on to the handle and not the hose or nozzle. YOU WIILL get FROST BITE from it if you do not.
 

jon coleman

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check out those old F one pitt stops, zero fire protection.yes follow the rule book at a minimum, it was written in blood.sombody didnt just want to inconveniens your race program.rule books, schedule of events, required safty gear, go over it in detail, twice, nothing worse than showing up at a race scrambling to pass tech, or being d q ed' because of a well meaning out of compliance pit crew.
 

ndvalium

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Mas Tacos, I believe that flame resistant one piece coveralls like the type that they use on fuel loading docks are approved as well as actual Structure Fire Turnouts. I submitted these requests when this issue first appeared to be heading to the need for safety gear for fuelers in pits.

Yes as far as the garment worn, we are allowing turnouts and the suits that are flash fire rated for industrial work. If they are actually fueling the vehicle, they still need to have the apron on.

fuelers in the pits dont have to be stylishly dressed like the driver.old welding leather works good, along with coveralls& thick welding gloves.its usually your hands that get it in a fire.be safe....

no - it isnt acceptable. It must be certified by an approving agency which is SFI, SPARCO, OSHA or NFPA. The rules have been written and most are in compliance at each race.


I would like to add to make sure those on your team understand how to properly use the fire extinguishers you have. Most people do not have a good understanding of how to use them.

One thing I get taught at work every year is PASS.

PULL the pin
AIM at the base of the fire
SQUEEZE the handle
SWEEP the hose at the base of the fire.

Also be aware that with a CO2 bottle, make sure you are holding on to the handle and not the hose or nozzle. YOU WIILL get FROST BITE from it if you do not.

Great information, I want to add on the fire extinguisher side, it is required your fire person not only be dedicated to the fire protection during your fueling but that they should be dressed appropriately as well. If your car catches file while dumping fuel, the only guy that saves you is the one with the bottle. If he is in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, he is going to be part problem and not the solution. Further, I watched some teams at Parker have their fire guy set down the bottle to help change a tire while using a pressure pro. This is not acceptable. EVER.

@MasTacos thank you for covering these areas.

As many of the TT, 1500 and 6100 guys have seen we are checking all these things now also before qualifying. There is no grace period for suits, helmets or HNR devices. You will not start the timed lap without being signed off by one of my team members. I have also become aware of isolated instances of people having one compliant suit inspected for tech day and then wearing their 1 layer comfortable suit once they start the race. This is not acceptable and you might expect that we may end up spot checking at the finish line in the near future.

There was a lot of real life justification for all of the rule book items that are currently in place in the BITD rules as it relates to safety. This is a passion of mine and many others including the Folks brothers, Daryl Putnam, Donald Jackson and the entire Tech, and Rescue teams. We cannot prevent injuries. We cannot prevent death. We certainly cant prevent fires and accidents. What we can do is take the information we learn on those incidents as well as motorsports safety standards and apply them to those racing in the Best in the Desert series. We are very pleased so far with the continued results. I know there have been fires in many cases over the last 2 years since we started these strict rules. I also know in most cases they were addressed professionally and quickly by the teams and in many cases, the team went on to finish the race with minimal impact. That is the desired effect.

I will ask for one favor from everyone especially as the Mint 400 grows closer, especially in the main pit:

We are packing very tightly a lot of teams into a very small area. Please have your fire watch guy not only "watch" when you pit your vehicles, but anytime someone on either side of you is pitting as well. It not only can help them, but in such close proximity to your pit have an impact on your team, equipment and area if there is a flash fire.

Lets get ready to Mint 400!
 

jon coleman

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hmmmm, i better read up on racin' rules, last time i raced fueling in hot pits was a free for all.good to see some guide lines on it.and fire extinguishers need to be placed& used right, i watched some sprint car fires on u toob, & and the guy using extinguisher seem to make it worse.be safe
 

mxben

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We on the safety team do our best to patrol the pits and be sure that rules are followed. Gas mat down, fire extinguishers at the ready, and proper safety gear for those dispensing the fuel. Our goal is to to make it so our team can enjoy the race and not have to have someone flown out for burns. Just when you think it won't happen to you, it will. Having a DQ for not following the rules and taking safety to heart ruins every ones day. At the end of the day we just wish to all go home safe.


How about in the motorcycle pits? Are we required to follow the same rules?
 

jon coleman

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most fueling fires are flash type, big & scary but a lotta times short lived, dont panic, be cool and just run your practice routine in real time( u guys did have a pit crew practice meeting, right?)dirt is a good extinguisher for small fires.if big, use right equip.and always be alert for a re- flash.be safe
 

EMS702

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How about in the motorcycle pits? Are we required to follow the same rules?
Required to follow BITD rules, yes. I would expect that if handling fuel you would be a safe as possible. I mat should be down and a fire extinguisher at the ready. Obviously the fueling cans and rigs are different. I have seen flash fires refueling bikes and a pit person had severe burns on his legs because he was wearing shorts. This was at Vegas to Reno in summer. Best answer follow rules and be safe and use proper safety gear. Like I have said before, when you think it will not happen it does.
 

MasTacos

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You can find the moto rulebook here.

Relative to Pits, the following items are relevant:

PITS:
SGPT8:
All pits must be at least 50 feet from the edge of the racecourse to the race track side of race vehicle. No pit may be in the first 50 feet leading into and the first 100 feet leading out of a turn. Pits located within the turn area or less than 50 feet from the track will subject entrant to penalties of up to and including disqualification and or a minimum of one-hour time penalty at the discretion of the director or operations manager. Mandatory at all pits, some form of approved fuel containment mat under the vehicle when fueling. A tub or bucket to catch overflow is mandatory as well.

SGPT9: All pits must have the equivalent of a UL approved 10-lb. ABC fire extinguisher at all times; the extinguisher(s) must be manned during all pit stops. This capability may be accomplished using fire extinguishers of any combination (minimum 5-lb. extinguisher) that equals 10 lbs. (i.e. one 10 lb., two 5 lb.). All pit fire extinguishers must have current (less than one year old) fire marshal’s tag, seal in place, and be fully charged.

If you look through the rule book there's nothing specific regarding clothing and equipment for fire safety (keep in mind they can modify that should the wish) but you have to ask yourself, under what circumstances would you think "Pft, fire safety isn't a priority for me".

Gas burns whether it's going into a car or overflowing from a bike onto a hot engine and burning gas melts people.
 

mxben

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You can find the moto rulebook here.

Relative to Pits, the following items are relevant:

PITS:
SGPT8:
All pits must be at least 50 feet from the edge of the racecourse to the race track side of race vehicle. No pit may be in the first 50 feet leading into and the first 100 feet leading out of a turn. Pits located within the turn area or less than 50 feet from the track will subject entrant to penalties of up to and including disqualification and or a minimum of one-hour time penalty at the discretion of the director or operations manager. Mandatory at all pits, some form of approved fuel containment mat under the vehicle when fueling. A tub or bucket to catch overflow is mandatory as well.

SGPT9: All pits must have the equivalent of a UL approved 10-lb. ABC fire extinguisher at all times; the extinguisher(s) must be manned during all pit stops. This capability may be accomplished using fire extinguishers of any combination (minimum 5-lb. extinguisher) that equals 10 lbs. (i.e. one 10 lb., two 5 lb.). All pit fire extinguishers must have current (less than one year old) fire marshal’s tag, seal in place, and be fully charged.

If you look through the rule book there's nothing specific regarding clothing and equipment for fire safety (keep in mind they can modify that should the wish) but you have to ask yourself, under what circumstances would you think "Pft, fire safety isn't a priority for me".

Gas burns whether it's going into a car or overflowing from a bike onto a hot engine and burning gas melts people.


Thank you.
 
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