The number of people seeking treatment at the Washington Town and Country Fair first-aid station was up this year compared to last year, but was lower than other recent years.
A total of 319 fairgoers were treated for various ailments and injuries during the Fair, up 67 from the 252 people treated during the 2011 Fair.
A total of 306 fairgoers were treated at the station in 2010 compared to 339 in 2009 and 372 in 2008.
The fewest people seen at the station was 270 in 1991, according to statistics provided by Chief Terry Buddemeyer, Washington Area Ambulance District (WAAD).
Thursday and Friday were the busiest days at the first-aid station this year.
This year’s daily breakdown and the comparison to last year are as follows:
Wednesday, 63, down two;
Thursday, 67, up 32;
Friday, 93, up 54;
Saturday, 47, down 19;
Sunday, 49, up two.
“There were people on the fairgrounds each day that had heat-related complaints,” Buddemeyer said. “Most cooled off in the first-aid station and did not require ambulance transport or any other further medical care.”
The big challenge at this year’s Fair occurred Saturday night when major thunderstorms moved in, prompting evacuation of the grounds.
“Actions taken by the Fair Board in conjunction with emergency service agencies to evacuate the fairgrounds and direct fairgoers to storm shelters were instrumental in reducing the probability of serious injuries,” Buddemeyer said. “EMS resources were in place on site and at both ambulance bases to respond to medical needs. Fortunately, it was not necessary to utilize these resources for patient care and transport.”
This year, no riders had to be transported by ambulance from the bull riding event Wednesday evening, the rodeo Thursday night or the sprint car races Saturday, according to Buddemeyer.
Two patients were transported from the motocross races on Sunday and several other riders with injuries were not transported but advised to seek medical assessment and treatment later, Buddemeyer said.
Six patients were transported by ambulance from the grounds, including the two motocross riders on Sunday.
Other patients were treated for the usual fair-related complaints including lacerations, blisters, headaches, etc., he noted.
As in past years, the station was staffed by personnel from WAAD and Mercy Hospital Washington.
Mercy sunscreen packets and neck coolers were given to fairgoers at their request.
Coverage at the motor sports arena was provided by WAAD and the Washington Fire Department with assistance from surrounding fire departments.
J&W Cycles provided a Kawasaki Mule with a specialized EMS insert again this year for use during motor sports events and for response to other parts of the fairgrounds as needed, Buddemeyer said.
The WAAD EMS cart also was used to respond to calls and transport patients on the fairgrounds.
This was the 12th year first-aid service used mutual aid ambulances from bordering districts at the Fair during peak times and to provide ambulances at specific events.
Meramec, Marthasville, St. Clair, Union and New Haven ambulance districts provided personnel and ambulances.
Buddemeyer said the safety of the Fair patrons and workers was emphasized in the pre-Fair planning and daily meetings of emergency service agencies with Fair Board members.