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 Southland Emergency Medical Technician Selected To Drive,
 Fulfills Racing Dream
 NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Secomerica Inc., a Southern California-based holding company, has entered a three-man amateur racing team selected from its 3,500 employees in the grueling Paris-Dakar-Paris Road Rally, an 18-day endurance road race that began Dec. 28 in Paris.
 According to Michael Kaye, president and chief executive officer for the Secomerica Group, the company entered the rally to emphasize the necessity of safe driving for all Secomerica Group employees and to promote teamwork. "We own more than 750 vehicles and employ more than 2,500 people who drive them regularly. Between our LifeFleet and Westec divisions alone, we log more than 16 million miles annually," said Kaye. "In presenting our employee team with the challenge of driving in this notoriously difficult rally, we hope to focus attention on safety, build morale through teamwork, and decrease on-the-job accidents. Plus, participating in this race requires the same kinds of skills we want our people to practice every day: solid planning, resourcefulness and dogged determination."
 Anaheim resident Paul Blevin, 30, an emergency medical technician with Southland LifeFleet, a Secomerica-owned ambulance service, was chosen to drive for the team. "I've been interested in racing since age 15, and have spent the past 11 years working as a crew member with the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Race Team. The chance to actually drive in a race like this one is a dream come true," said Blevin. Blevin was chosen to drive for the team based on his safe driving record with LifeFleet as well as his enthusiasm for racing. In addition to his duties as an EMT, Blevin serves as a field training officer, teaching other Secomerica employees behind-the-wheel skills.
 Blevin is accompanied by Doug Neal, the team navigator, an emergency medical technician from Shepherd LifeFleet in Seattle, and Eric Smith, team manager, a paramedic with LifeFleet Atlantic's Key West Rescue. In order to qualify for a slot on the Secomerica team, employees were required to have safe driving records. Other criteria included good health and knowledge of mechanics, maintenance and minor vehicle repairs. A field of 60 applicants was narrowed down to eight, and those eight spent a week together in an intense screening process that evaluated their personality, composure under pressure, ability to get along with others, ability to adapt to new situations, and driving skills.
 Once the team was selected, they spent more than three months training for this race both in the California desert and in Japan. International road rally champions Rod Millen and his partner, Tony Sircombe, instructed the amateur ralliests.
 The Paris-Dakar-Paris Road Rally covers more than 7,500 miles and is regarded as the most difficult rally course in the world. The race begins in Paris and travels across Spain, through the Sahara Desert to Dakar, Senegal, then back north, again crossing the Sahara to the Mediterranean, ending in Paris. There is a total of 224 competitive teams entered -- 98 cars/trucks, 97 motorcycles and 29 camions (giant racing support trucks). The race takes a heavy toll on its entrants -- only one of four teams starting the race is expected to finish.
 "Now that I've been through training, I realize our success is dependent on our ability to be consistent and take care of the vehicle. If we treat it well and don't make mistakes, we can finish safely and maybe even beat a few other teams," said Blevin. The team is driving a Toyota Landcruiser, Type 70, and is supported by a team of Secom mechanics.
 Last year, Secom Inc., Secomerica's Japanese parent corporation, entered a team of drivers from Japan in the Paris-Beijing Rally as part of a program to focus employee attention on safety. The result was an 18 percent reduction in losses due to automobile accidents in Japan.
 "Our main goal in doing this event is to increase safety awareness among everyone in the Secomerica Group. By using the chance to participate in the Paris-Dakar-Paris Road Rally as an incentive, we hope to reduce losses due to accidents by 25 percent in the United States," said Mike Donner, director of risk management for the company's U.S. operations, which includes LifeFleet, HMSS, a home infusion service, and Westec Security, a Southern California-based private security company. "Almost all of our avoidable accidents are caused by lack of driver attention. It seems logical that if we pay more attention to safety, we can reduce our accidents."
 After the second day of racing, the Secomerica team is ranked 68th in a field of 98 cars. The Secomerica team's emphasis, however, remains on finishing the race safely, and not on winning. "In training, we learned some valuable lessons," observed Blevin. "When I increased my driving speed beyond my abilities, I scared Doug, Eric and myself. We learned that it is better to be consistent and in control, while maintaining a smooth, fast pace, rather than risking damage to the vehicle or injury to ourselves. We can't win the race unless we finish the race."
 For more information, team photographs, or to schedule interviews with the Secomerica Road Rally Team, contact Mike Donner of Secomerica by paging him at 800-SKY-GRAM, enter 883-2642, then push the pound sign; or contact Susan Yannetti of Porter Novelli at 310-444-7057 or 213-874-6962 (holiday telephone number).
 -0- 12/31/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Donner, Secomerica, pager 800-SKY-GRAM, enter 883-2642 and pound sign; or Susan Yannetti, Porter Novelli, 310-444-7057 or 213-874-6962 (holiday telephone number)/

CO: Secomerica Inc. ST: California IN: AUT SU:

NY-EH -- LA005 -- 8289 12/31/93 10:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 31, 1993

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