Sixth in a series of stories highlighting partner activities supporting the efforts against COVID-19
In auto racing, “all clear” is a phrase that spotters use to let their driver know they are no longer side-by-side with another race car. In public safety, it is a phrase used to signal danger has passed.
All Clear Foundation works to ensure first responders have the “all clear” when it comes to their personal safety – both mentally and physically. Its mission is clear: improve the life expectancy and well-being of all first responders.
This Saturday, May 2, the stars of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and special guests from other motorsports series will participate in the final event of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event honors the heroes working on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19: The First Responder 175 presented by GMR (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Global Medical Response (GMR) is the founding partner of All Clear Foundation and is the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services.
“GMR is really involved in helping first responders, not just folks in ambulances, but across the board through their monetary and advisory contributions to All Clear Foundation, which really focuses on taking care of the folks that take care of us around the country,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They are absolutely professional, wonderful folks who are taking care of situations, and they don’t really know what they’re getting into when they get there, much like when they show up at a racetrack and one of the drivers is needing assistance. It is important to talk about those first responders and helping those first responders, as All Clear Foundation does.”
To achieve its mission, All Clear Foundation works to change the harmful stigmas and daunting statistics plaguing the first responder community. All Clear Foundation creates, convenes, funds and amplifies programs focused on improving the lives of those who are sacrificing their personal safety to keep our communities safe – and even more so during these uncertain times.
Tim Baughman, INDYCAR manager of track safety, has seen first-hand the personal stress that can come with being a first responder. He has worked at IMS since 1982, with INDYCAR since 1996 and spent his career as a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Baughman spent nearly 40 years serving the Indianapolis community before retiring in January 2019.
The average person will experience a 911 service once in their lifetime, while first responders experience it every day, Baughman said. They are trained on how to handle the tactical side of things, not the emotional and psychological side.
“When it comes to preparing for tough moments, most of our preparation is not in preparing for how it’s affecting us, it’s about preparing to manage that incident or crisis,” Baughman said. “When that’s all over with, whether it’s the end of the day, week, year or career, we accumulate a lot of stressors that have been put on our lives and piled up. Just recently, it has come to fruition that people understand it is having a negative impact on our first responders, not only at the end of their careers but also while it’s going on.”
Baughman noted passion drives many to work in public safety. That zeal often causes first responders to work multiple jobs, which can compound their stress.
Motorsports is one of the many industries in which first responders find additional jobs, like with the AMR Safety Teams in INDYCAR and NASCAR, which serve as the Official Medical Response Partner of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the GMR Grand Prix and the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard.
AMR Safety Teams respond to on-track incidents in seconds and get to work immediately to ensure race car drivers are safe and receive proper care. 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan said he has grown to greatly appreciate the work of safety teams.
“They’re our angels,” Kanaan said. “They’re people that love what they do, and we actually get to know them really well, and they become our friends. I cannot even try to understand what they face when they get to a car.”
That connection makes this sponsorship and the support of All Clear Foundation that much more perfect. All Clear Foundation is an Official Charity of INDYCAR and IMS, and GMR is the title sponsor of the GMR Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the IMS road course on Saturday, July 4.
“I think when we go out with this partnership with AMR and GMR here at the Grand Prix and when we’re out on the road with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, hopefully we can bring forward the message of recognition that All Clear Foundation does and really support our community,” Baughman said. “It’s almost asking the large community to support a smaller community, and I think that’s what we’re here for.”
Baughman said he hopes this will help the first responder community gain recognition and bring light to health risks, emotional issues, psychological issues, a need for increased personal training and much more.
“There are so many ways we can help first responders,” Baughman said. “First and foremost is simple recognition. We don’t ask for it. Most people who do this, it’s not something where we want a pat on the back or want some sort of recognition. That performance of doing something good is what drives people to go into first responder work. Having some recognition like All Clear Foundation working nationally with the first responder community puts a flag in the air and says, ‘We notice what they’re doing.’”
All Clear Foundation is taking several steps to provide specific COVID-19 support during these times. Currently, All Clear Foundation is offering its first responder peer-to-peer connect app, ResponderRel8, subscription free so that responders have a way to share experiences, stressors and information during the COVID-19 pandemic without fear or stigma.
Also, the foundation has compiled many resources for first responders to help during the pandemic, including consolidated local, state and federal COVID-19 resources and a robust list of resources for parents and children during school closures. In addition, All Clear Foundation has compiled more than 500 First Responder Resources that are helpful in non-pandemic times too.
You can support All Clear Foundation and first responders in various ways here.