Rock Rapids race track cites high cost of emergency services for - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Rock Rapids race track cites high cost of emergency services for summer closure

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The Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa has canceled its 2014 racing season, citing the high cost of Fire and Rescue services at the track each week.

"Fire services were increased by 80% while the ambulance services increased by 114%...While it is impossible to put a value on safety and human life, there is only so much money to go around,” said a post on the race track’s web site.

People in the racing world know rollovers and other accidents are reality of the sport, which is why emergency services should always go hand in hand with any race track.

“Frankly if I was a race car driver, I wouldn't race at a track if I didn't think the fire department or the ambulance service could handle an accident if it happened, because you don't have time to call 911,” said Jay Masure, the President & CEO of MED-Star Ambulance Service and Dirt Track Race Rescue in Brandon.

Masure and his crew have been working at dirt race tracks for more than 35 years. Their gear and equipment is geared specifically for putting out fires at a race track. Masure says when it comes to race track fires or accidents seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

“You know a car fire in the city, it takes the fire department five or 10 minutes to get there—that’s too much time when someone is stuck in a car. At a race track we can truly take a difference, because we are there the second it starts,” said Masure.

That’s why he believes emergency services should be required at all races and other big events.

“In my opinion, if you're going to do something like run a racetrack or do some of these things that are dangerous, you have to budget in a good ambulance and a good fire department, if you can't do that, you shouldn't open the doors,” said Masure.

Masure says he’s been to several race tracks around the U.S. that do not have fire trucks or other emergency crews on site. That’s why he commends the Rapid Speedway for choosing to close its doors rather than open with out the proper rescue crews for their drivers.

To the drivers who were planning to race at Rapid Speedway this year, Masure says—“Just find another track that's open, and make sure the track you choose is safe.”

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