Hydrate! Do your part to stay out of the medical tent

Hydrate! Do your part to stay out of the medical tent

Tips for staying cool during the Farm Progress Show

Capable, volunteer medical staff is always ready onsite

Two years ago, the mercury jumped above 90 degrees F during two of the days at the Decatur Farm Progress Show.

It wasn't quite the scorcher of 2007, when temps were in the upper 90s all week. Still, Bill Wood and his team of emergency medical technicians treated 23 people for heat related issues in 2013. Wood, emergency medical service facilitator, reminds folks to hydrate frequently while walking the show grounds.

"If you're having any trouble creating saliva, you need to drink more water," he warns.

KEEP DRINKING: St. Mary's Hospital's first response trailer has capacity for two patients. This wasn't enough in 2007 when a lot of folks were battling heat-related illnesses. Bill Wood remembers sitting patients in lawn chairs with IV fluids while waiting for transportation to a local hospital.

Key word is "water." Wood advises folks to steer clear of soda. Caffeine will speed up the body's metabolism, which can cause dehydration even faster.

Next, be sure to dress for the occasion. The streets at Progress City are asphalt, which is great for shedding water, but soaks up the heat like a sponge. Wood recommends light, loose clothing. Tennis shoes, or some other shoe with increased breathability, are preferable to the protection provided by a work boot.

Remember to pack sunscreen. You won't be swimming, but the sun is just as pervasive. Wood says some may want to grab an umbrella for a bit of portable shade.

In capable hands
If show-goers find themselves in trouble, Wood reminds them to call 911. The 911 dispatcher will patch the call through to onsite emergency staff. Help emergency staff locate a person in need of assistance by noting landmarks and street signs.

Folks who have the misfortune of visiting the show's medical tent can rest assured they're in highly capable hands. Wood notes "medical tent" is actually a full field hospital with a capable staff of volunteers, including a physician onsite and emergency room registered nurses. The tent is air conditioned and holds five beds. If demand is greater than anticipated, Wood has a reserve tent onsite. It's also air conditioned and has room for another 10 beds.

Stabilization is the goal at the field hospital. If patients need additional care, Wood says the Decatur Ambulance Service, which donates its time and personnel for the event, will transport patients to the closest local hospital. If at all possible, the onsite medical staff will treat patients and get them back on their feet to see more of the show, Wood notes.

"People don't come from other countries to see our hospitals," he adds. "These folks are here to see the latest and greatest in farm machinery."

Along with Decatur Ambulance Service, the Decatur Fire Department, Argenta-Oreana Fire Department and a host of other local volunteers donate time and resources to cover the show.

The medical staff is onsite several days before the show begins and several days after it wraps up to provide medical services for the setup/takedown crew. "These landscapers are pushing hard and that's when mistakes can result in injury," Wood notes.

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