Indiana Daily Student

Hospitals, IUPD and other public services prepare for increased social activity during Little 5

<p>The southeast entrance of the IU Health Bloomington Hospital is seen on Jan. 20, 2022. As Bloomington prepares for Little 500, public services are gearing up for their role in keeping the Bloomington community and IU students safe.</p>

The southeast entrance of the IU Health Bloomington Hospital is seen on Jan. 20, 2022. As Bloomington prepares for Little 500, public services are gearing up for their role in keeping the Bloomington community and IU students safe.

Editor’s Note: This story includes mention of sexual violence. 

As Bloomington prepares for Little 500, public services are gearing up for their role in keeping the Bloomington community and IU students safe. 

IU Health Bloomington Hospital is preparing for a possible increase in patient admissions around the Little 500 race weekend. 

This is the first time in two years that the Little 500 race will be celebrated in person. In 2020, the event was canceled and last year it was held without in-person fans. 

“We are anticipating it's going to be a big year so we definitely increased our staffing,” Katy Howe, IU Health Bloomington Director of Emergency and Trauma Services, said. 

The hospital has also increased their supply of IV fluids in anticipation, Howe said. 

Last year, IU Health opened a new hospital in Bloomington on Discovery Parkway, which includes a larger emergency department. 

“Historically we have had to put patients all over the hallway, or just anywhere we could,” Howe said, “Now, we really have the space to be able to care for what is coming in.” 

Howe said weather can have a large effect on people staying hydrated and safe during the race. 

“Wear sunscreen, drink lots of fluids other than alcohol because the alcohol can help dehydrate your body,” Howe said. 

She said an increase in sexual assault is also a concern during the race weekend. 

“Make sure that you stay with friends,” Howe said. “Don’t find yourself in a position where you’re alone.” 

Kelly Mullis, IU Health South Central Region Lifeline Director, said Lifeline, the organization that manages medical transportation for IU Health, has been preparing for Little 500 for several weeks and added extra ambulances for the weekend. 

There are numerous health resources at Bill Armstrong Stadium, including a disaster trailer and paramedics stationed at every corner, Mullis said. 

“Just don’t overdo it,” Mullis said. “Be with people you trust.” 

The IU Police Department is also preparing for Little 500 weekend and the predicted increase in alcohol use. IUPD Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger said police are aware people are going to party, but hopes people remain responsible and know about the resources available to them.

“You can’t stop people from having parties,” Bunger said. 

The Lifeline Law in Indiana allows for immunity in some alcohol-related offenses. To be protected from prosecution under the Lifeline law, a person must request emergency medical assistance for someone else, experience a sexual crime or be a witness to another crime. If one or more of these apply to someone, they will not be prosecuted for the crimes of public intoxication or illegal possession of alcohol. 

“Say you call and you’re underage drinking, if you cooperate with police you won’t be cited for underage drinking,” Bunger said. “This week for our department, if someone needs help, that person is going to be protected as well. We're not going to cite them.”

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