Health officials warn race fans to stay hydrated at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Another scorcher is in the works for one of the biggest days in racing. Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) President Doug Boles advises spectators to be mindful of their alcohol consumption to prevent heat exhaustion.

“It happened to me in 2013. I went drinking beer, I just wasn’t drinking enough water and I ended up in the infield care center with an IV,” Boles said.

IMS has two care centers, 15 first aid stations and more than 120 paramedics on site. Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) is working hand and hand to assist outside the grandstands.

“We are handling the medical response for the parade, and then the night before the race out in the camping lots, and then we have our planning chief stationed in the pagoda who’s going to be monitoring things,” said Brian Van Bokkelen, Public Affairs Manager of IEMS.

Van Bokkelen says although many come for the party, H2O is your best friend.

“Start drinking now and on race day we want a gallon of water per person with you. And just limit it. Make sure you are balancing that stuff out and make sure you’re taking time to get ample hydration in you,” Van Bokkelen said.

If you need assistance, Boles doesn’t want anyone to worry about healthcare on site.

“IU Health is a partner of ours. If you were treated here on the grounds, IU Health and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take care of that. I don’t want people thinking… I don’t have insurance or I don’t want to pay a deductible. If we treat you here, we will take care of it. If we have to transport you to the hospital, that's when your insurance kicks in,” Boles said.

The Bailey Family spent their Friday at Miller Lite Carb Day, introducing their toddler Addie to all that the Indy 500 has to offer. They’re also making sure she’s prepared to take on the heat.

“We have 100 proof SPF on her. We have a hat, sunglasses, plenty of water, Gatorade, a towel so we can cool her off when we need to. And we don’t plan on being here for too long. If she looks tired or fussy, we’ll probably take her home,” Jessica Bailey said.

The key is not to only look out for yourself but to ensure everyone you travel with is hydrated.

“Definitely stay hydrated. It’s humid. You’re sweating out all of those electrolytes. So stay as hydrated as you can, eat good food. Don’t just go on alcohol because you won’t last the rest of the day,” Bailey said.

IMS has multiple resources available if you need them:

  • Infield care center
  • Remote care center near the Snakepit
  • 15 first aid stations
  • 17 -20 ambulances for spectators
  • 6 ambulances on the track for drivers
  • Roving paramedics
  • 12 physicians including a trauma surgeon, neurosurgeon, an orthopedic surgeon
  • 15 nurses
  • More than 120 paramedics on site

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