What is a Rescue Unit?

A motorsport Rescue Unit carries a comprehensive amount of medical equipment together with tools specifically designed to assist in removing a trapped driver from his vehicle

The vehicles are required to be licensed by the controlling body of UK Motorsport, the Motor Sports Association (MSA). The MSA regulations specify the minimum level of equipment to be carried by a Rescue Unit although the majority of vehicles are equipped well in excess of this minimum specification.

The East Anglian Centres' first Rescue Unit was formed in 1969, in response to increasing safety awareness, by the BRSCC in particular and motor sport in general. It used at the time a Land Rover pick-up breakdown truck, with basic tools in the back. This was followed by a J4 Morris van in 1971. In 1974 the first of 5 Ford Transits was purchased.

The Transits served the club well until 2000 saw the change to a Mercedes Sprinter, supplied with the support of Orwell trucks, thus giving more room for an increasing amount of equipment (also the crew waist sizes have been expanding over the years!).

Over time the extraction kit has evolved from hacksaws and hammer and chisels, through to air powered tools such as Cengar saws and chisels, EPCO 10 Ton hydraulic crash rescue jacking and spreading equipment. A recent acquisition has been the double-acting Lukas Combi tool, the so-called Jaws of Life. The unit also carries an air powered helmet cutter, hydraulic pedal / steering wheel cutters and battery powered DeWalt saw. Impact air tools are carried for Armco repair which have been used on a number of occasions recently, thus shortening delays in race meetings.  Backup fire extinguishers are also carried.

Medical  equipment carried comprises Long Spinal board, Kendrick Cervical Extraction Device and the similar ED2000, wheeled and scoop stretchers, a selection of various neck collars,  a pulse oximeter and defibrillator have kindly been supplied by The British Heart Foundation. Resuscitation and intubation equipment along with dressings are carried in separate cases to the scenes of incidents.

The unit carries a minimum of 3 MSA Licensed crew, with trainees plus a Doctor or Paramedic, who are tasked to arrive at an incident within 90 seconds of dispatch, although in reality arrival is usually within a lot less time than this. Upon arrival at an incident the crew works under the direction of the Medical officer on the scene and will extricate the driver only after he or she has been assessed medically first.

The Unit covers a varied spectrum of motor sports at most of the circuits in the UK and has visited Zandvoort, Croix en Ternois and the Nurburgring abroad attending events ranging from hillclimbs, rallycross,  minor club events and track days up to Grand Prix meetings. A lot of the meetings covered are for clubs other than the BRSCC, the hire revenue assisting the running and equipping of this essential machine.