Motor sport gets jaws of life equipment

A collaboration between the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF), two British safety experts and the organisers of last year’s Race Of Champions at Bushy Park has resulted in a valuable legacy for island motor sport –– the donation of specialist Jaws of Life equipment, which will be available to all BMF member clubs and deployed for the first time at next Sunday’s Motoring Club of Barbados Inc.’s Spring Blaze.

The equipment has been donated by the Emergency Mobile Medical Unit (EMMU), which is based in Lancashire on the north-west coast of England, and was handed over to the BMF in December by EMMU’s founder Stuart Westbrook, who also undertook training sessions during his visit to the island. EMMU provides medical support and rescue cover, not only for motor sport but also other hazardous sports, such as powerboat racing.

The ROC’s safety officer Sue Sanders has become a familiar face in island motor sport in the last two years, having conducted senior officials training sessions for the BMF, also advised on safety and related procedures for Sol Rally Barbados. On her  site visit last September, Sanders started the ball rolling on the Jaws of Life project.

“I was aware from my first visit that there are limited resources to call on in the island, so decided that the arrival of Race Of Champions might prove to be a useful catalyst.

“British rescue units tend to upgrade their equipment on a rolling programme and I knew that EMMU had recently upgraded theirs, looking to either sell their existing equipment, or donate it to a worthwhile cause. When Stuart dropped in for a coffee on his way south from Lancashire, I posed the question . . . he said ‘yes’, so off we set.”

The BMF vice-president John Sealy said: “Naturally, we were delighted with Stuart Westbrook’s generous donation, but the equipment is only truly worthwhile with trained personnel. So, we worked with the ROC organisers to share the costs of Stuart coming to the island to conduct training sessions.”

The Jaws of Life equipment, manufactured by Holmatro, can cut through competition roll cages and roof-supporting pillars of a race or rally car without creating sparks, a vital factor in protecting anyone trapped in the vehicle. The new equipment will be maintained and operated by members of the privately-funded Roving Response Team (RRT), already well-known in the motor sport fraternity, on both race track and rally stage.

Stuart Westbrook (in red suit) giving safety and rescue officials tips on the use of the life-saving equipment.
Stuart Westbrook (in red suit) giving safety and rescue officials tips on the use of the life-saving equipment.

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