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Though COVID-19 has upended the month of May in Indianapolis, Pit Road paramedic and Greenwood Fire Department firefighter Rob Stecher remains grateful for the difference Rev makes on the track and off. When Rev and the Indianapolis 500 are back on, he’ll be ready thanks to training and equipment funded by Rev.
As part of an elite team of hand-selected senior service paramedics, Stecher is a part-time IU Health employee, on hand at every Indy 500 and every practice race to ensure the safety of both drivers and spectators.
Stecher and his crew — one of four on Pit Road — are often the first responders to a mid-race crash. They assist in removing drivers from wreckage, and help transport them to the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at the track, staffed by IU Health physicians and caregivers, or, when needed, to IU Health Methodist Hospital. Stecher and his colleagues also serve pit crew members who are injured, often by debris from crashes. The teams also attend to spectators who are injured or become sick from causes such as heat exhaustion or dehydration.
To respond whenever the unexpected happens, and to do so safely and effectively, Stecher and the rest of the Pit Road teams require safety gear and training that keeps them protected, and helps them provide the best care to patients.
That’s where Rev comes in. Funds from the event are used to supply protective equipment the paramedics need, like fire suits and specialized helmets. Proceeds also support annual training that covers information on the cars, drivers and crews that will be at the track.
Stecher says he wouldn’t be able to do his job without the supplies Rev helps provide. “The equipment is 100% important,” he says. “We couldn’t be on Pit Road or cross the wall to access drivers if we didn’t have the right gear.”
That gear makes the critical difference when every second counts. After a crash, Stecher and his team can be over the wall and back — driver in tow — in less than two minutes. In many crashes, those two minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
“Everybody is on edge, pushing for every second, risking everything they can risk. We have to be ready,” he says. “When we cross Pit Road, we’re in that environment with them — and they’re still racing for first place.”
As a first responder, Stecher’s focus has temporarily shifted to the impact of the pandemic. He encourages members of our communities to continue practicing social distancing, only call for help when it’s an emergency, and understand that healthcare as a whole is overwhelmed right now.
But when this is over, you can be sure that Stecher will be happy to return to the track, secure in the protective equipment and lifesaving training provided by Rev.
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