Marshal Journey: Track to Experienced

Following last year’s blog by Andrew Garrett on what it takes for a marshal to get from the Trainee grade to the Track grade, or White to Green as it is more commonly known, and since having recently upgraded myself in the marshalling world, I have decided to focus on what it takes to get from Green to Red Badge and achieve the Experienced Marshal grade.

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Study in Concentration: Green to red is as much about your knowledge as it is about the practical side of marshalling. [Photo: Paul Williams]
First of all, I do have to say that once you start marshalling, it isn’t like a production line. You can stop at any point along the way, so whenever you feel comfortable or at a level that is dictated by other things such as work or family commitments, then that is what you should stay at as it’s your decision that matters. For some it will be about challenging yourself and striving to get more experiences and fine tuning your skills. This comes with a warning as you could get lost in going up the grades quickly, something I shall talk more about that later.

The Fundamentals

Going from Green to Red has the same fundamentals as going from white to green. You still have to do a set number of days, still have to do both flag and incident disciplines, still need attendance signatures and still have to do assessment days. Thankfully the assessments are the same; one in incident and one in flag, everything else is a little bit different.

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There’s no such thing as too much training. 

Instead of just 15 days on the bank, with a minimum of two in either discipline, you now have to get 20 days on the bank with a minimum of 5 days in each discipline. The upgrade is already asking more of you on the bank, but it doesn’t stop there. The number of completed Training Modules and Training Days needed have also gone up.

For your first upgrade you’ll need signatures in Fire Theory, Fire Practical, Basic Skills and Flagging, all of which can be completed on one day. For this upgrade you’ll need to do all the above, but Basic Skills becomes Incident and you also have a First Aid module as well. All these modules are to be completed over two training days. There’s a catch though, the training days have to be done at least 12 months apart.

Why More?

The name of the grade you are pushing for, “Experienced Marshal” is a big indicator as to why they are asking more of you. You are taking the next step up the ladder and you’ll be the ones who Incident Officers and Post Chief’s turn to, to help nurture the new marshals or even step up into a duty.

“More is Knowledge, More is Power, More is Confidence.”  (Robert Lee, 2017)

The more days that you do on the bank before going for your assessment means you are cutting down the likelihood of seeing something new. You’re going to be prepared for a wider range of scenarios and have more knowledge on how to deal with it.

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Knowledge, Power and Confidence all help if you are asked to step up a role. [Photo: Paul Williams]
The more incidents and racing you see, will give you more power in your own judgement. Do you or don’t you go to that incident? Is that a blue flag? All these questions will be answered with the more days you do to witness different incidents and racing situations, so when that incident comes, it’s already dealt with and that blue flag almost puts itself out.

The final point of confidence is a combination of everything; the more days you do, will give you more power in your judgement and more knowledge of situations. This is the perfect arsenal to have the utmost confidence when in the heat of the moment. I would hate to see any marshal head out onto track, and their confidence desert them in a dangerous place, so those extra days are crucial for your confidence.

As I mentioned earlier, if you try and obtain each grade in as short a time as possible, you will miss out on the crucial knowledge, power and confidence and that doesn’t just happen over night. It takes a few months, even years, to get to that level.

Get your Person Record Card bulging with signatures!

The Assessments

Throughout this blog I’ve sounded like Oliver Twist and keep wanting more, sadly I am. The assessment you need to do more! I remember clearing up an incident and throwing out blue flags for my Green Badge, but for my Red Badge that wouldn’t have been enough.

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The more you train in flagging, the more it becomes like second nature.

Both are crucial. For the incident assessment you need to get that car into a safe place, get the driver to safety and make sure it is all done whilst you have kept safe in the process. A wise head and a clever thought process is what will be scrutinised on. You can afford to pause and wait for the racing to be neutralised if the car is in a dangerous place, because it demonstrates you’ve used your knowledge of the racing and years you’ve been marshalling.

Flagging is the same. you need to be following the race. Putting blue flags out and picking up yellow and green flags in an instant are still the foundations, but again how closely you will need to be following the racing is crucial. I am not saying you have to get every blue flag, but if you do it will go a long way in making sure that you pass. Oh and White Flags; if you know one needs to be out, make sure it is out. Post Chiefs love it! Joking asides, the White Flag is the most under-used and must useful pieces of information you can show, so displaying one means you have a very good knowledge of how it will affect on coming cars and the marshalling posts around you.

Hopefully all this information will help and remember that only you know when you are ready to take on the next step!

Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram) 

4 thoughts on “Marshal Journey: Track to Experienced

  1. Slightly odd white flag comment – surely it’s knowing what information is helpful for the safety of the drivers rather than working out what the post chiefs want.

    I imagine it was meant in a light hearted manner, but it fuels a divide that shouldn’t be there between post chiefs and other marshals, as well as missing the whole point of an experienced marshal upgrade showing someone being competent in race / speed / rally rather than a ‘tick box’ exercise.

    Like

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