GREENVILLE — A Darke County Fair Safety Plan came together at the Fair Safety Committee meeting July 6 at the fairgrounds, led by Darke County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker.
Darke County Fair Board (DCFB) member Dave Niley said the crowd at the meeting was the largest ever.
“It’s nice to see so many people here this morning,” he said. “This is our first year with Spirit (Medical Transport, LLC) on board. We all have to work together. We have rules in place and if we follow those rules, things will go pretty well.”
A bid was accepted from Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, for $10,000, to cover emergency services at the 2017 Darke County Fair at the DCFB Meeting, June 21, in Greenville, Ohio. According to Fair Director Brian Rismiller, Darke County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has been in contract with the fair since the beginning. It had held the same annual price, since 2010, of $7,000 for fair coverage. The Darke County EMS contract was up and new proposals were submitted.
Chief Deputy Whittaker discussed all points of fair safety, putting a plan in place. He called upon leaders from each division within that safety plan, including: fire, EMS, the Darke County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the City of Greenville Street Department. Whittaker started with the fire departments. The Darke County Fairgrounds falls under the jurisdiction of two fire departments, depending on the location. The Greenville City Fire Department has the north and south ends and the Greenville Township has everything in the middle, according to Whittaker.
Greenville Township Fire Department’s Fire Chief Ken Stiefel, said based on the DCFB’s recent decision to go with Spirit, Greenville Township will stay at the station and answer 911 calls.
“We have a plan in effect,” Stiefel said. “We are part of the Fair Safety Plan and we know this is our township. Normally, we occupy the space up by the front gate, but this year we are not going to be doing that. We have full – time employees but we can’t commit them here and I can’t expect my volunteers to do that either. We have a good response and a good daytime crew. In the past we bent over backwards to get gators here, brought our own vehicles down and had to borrow pumps to put in the back of them. If the averages from last year pan out, we only had about nine fire calls. We are going to see how it works out this year. In the past, we did the scheduling for the other fire departments. We are more than willing to help with scheduling and maybe meet half way to help out. As always, we are here to protect you.”
The City of Greenville Fire Department wants fire apparatus access roads to be clear of unattended vehicles. Chief Deputy Whittaker said signs needed to be clearly marked enforcing no parking. He also requested a list of barn and entertainment contacts from Fair Board President Brian Rismiller. Spirit President and CEO Brian Hathaway said Spirit’s fair coverage will be the same as the Darke County EMS coverage in the past.
“We did take a look at the fair schedule and it is our full intention to have each one of those events that have always been historically taken care of manned,” he said. “Motor transportation will be the same thing you saw, with some of the various faces that you have seen as well. There are a number of our people that are part of Darke County EMS and are very familiar with the fair. We look forward to working with everyone in regards to the EMS command structure. This is the City of Greenville and Greenville Township’s jurisdictions of whom I have a very good working relationship with, and that is what we plan to continue. If there is an incident we may establish the initial command, but once they are on scene, they are the ones that will be in command and we will pass that command over to them.”
Darke County Office of Homeland Security and EMA Director Mindy Saylor suggested the fair provide inexpensive weather radios to all of the barns and buildings on the fair grounds, allowing folks to receive weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service. In addition Chief Deputy Whittaker advised all parties to review the current Emergency Action Plan, make revisions, and send them back to him for changes and redistribution.
Chief Deputy Whittaker asked about special use vehicles entering the fairgrounds.
“I know there are no special use vehicles under these new circumstances,” he said. “That means you will be bringing your trucks right up to the grounds if necessary?”
“Our main concern is life safety,” Chief Stiefel said. “People are going to be walking around. We will get there as fast as possible.”
The Darke County Fair Safety Committee will meet again July 27, 10 a.m., at the Darke County fairgrounds.
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