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Staying Safe at WGI

Staying Safe at WGI

WATKINS GLEN (WENY) -- Over 100,000 fans will flock to Watkins Glen International in Schuyler County on Sunday for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen.
     "Fans are first at Watkins Glen International, so we try to do everything possible to make that true," said Betsy Mayer, Senior Manager of Public and Community Relations at WGI.
     Already hundreds of campers line the site, filled with fans eager for some exciting events leading up to race day. Many having their own fun while they wait.
     "The campers that we have, they camp! They know how to do it correctly," said Mayer.
     She says some have brought in small swimming pools, and that's not permitted. Some discreet items that are also prohibited at WGI include weapons and drones. Coolers are allowed in the grandstands, but cannot exceed 9 by 10 by 11 inches.
     "Everyone that comes in every vehicle, is subject to search if we deem necessary," said Mayer.
     The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office was on site Wednesday, getting things set up for the rest of the week.
      Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman says he's worked very closely with WGI on safety over the past several years to make this a family friendly weekend. Only about a dozen people were arrested last year compared to hundreds that typically ended up in cuffs back in the 70's.
     At least 50 officers will be working everyday from agencies throughout the area. On race day, they'll kick security up a notch.
     "We work with Watkins Glen International, their slogan is Fans First, so we try and enforce that in our own way," said Sheriff Bill Yessman. "We're fan friendly, but if people cause problems they have to pay the consequences."
     Schuyler County also recently started using Ping 4 Alerts. The Sheriff suggests people download the free smart phone app to get real time safety alerts for WGI, including severe weather.
     "If you download that app, and we have any sort of emergency on the track, we can just send it to the track area," said Sheriff Yessman.
     New technology has really made a difference in security here at WGI. Last year, WGI started a texting feature that's monitored 24/7, where employees can text alerts in to the Sheriff's Command Post with any issues.