Wayne County Fair goers are in Good Hands Thanks to Red Cross Volunteers

Five-Day Event Begins Saturday, September 8

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

Each year, dozens of nurses, medics and physicians donate their precious time (sometimes vacation hours!) to provide first aid services at the Red Cross First Aid Station at the Wayne County Fair. The fair runs September 8th – 13th,  and during the hours of operation, the first aid station is open and ready to care for anyone in need of unexpected medical care. The station, which is housed in a permanent, air-conditioned facility, will care for over 200 fair-goers dealing with injuries and illnesses ranging from blisters and bee stings to serious, complex medical conditions that tend to arise due to warm temperatures and extensive walking.

Lara Kiefer, the Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross, shared that the volunteers have provided the first aid services at the fair for at least the last 40 years. This year, the first aid operation will be coordinated by Mike Priest, a retired Wooster firefighter. He and his team will be on duty for a total of about 1,000 total hours, to ensure the health and well-being of those who attend the five-day event.

The volunteers meet well in advance to ensure they have ample coverage. Their station is stocked with supplies and the three medical bays are ready for those who get sick or injured. The team is ready with band-aids and gauze for minor cuts and scrapes, but also are truly ready for anything that comes their way. In fact, in 2016 a fair-goer had a life-threatening heart attack. The team gave CPR, used an AED and prepared the victim for transport by Wooster EMS.  Read more about their lifesaving action here.

Similar first-aid services are offered by the Red Cross at other events in Northeast Ohio, like the Pro Football Hall of Fame activities in Canton and the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County.  The need for volunteers to help provide such valuable services never ends.  Visit redcross.org/neo and click Volunteer at the top of the page to learn more about the volunteer opportunities available.

The need for blood donors is also constant.  Those who are able to donate are encouraged to visit the Red Cross bloodmobile at the Wayne County Fair Sunday and Monday, September 9 and 10, from noon to 7:00 pm.

And if you are one of the 100,000+ attendees of this year’s Wayne County Fair, please make sure to thank the volunteers who are working at the Red Cross first aid booth. You will make their vacation!

Red Cross Volunteers Credited with Saving Man’s Life

Performed CPR, Used AED to Save a Man at the Wayne County Fair

Farm animals. Funnel cakes. First Aid.

All are traditions of the Wayne County Fair.

The Red Cross has been providing first aid to fair goers for more than 60  years, as a service to the community.  This year, that service helped save at least one life.

A man attending the fair on Monday, September 12, suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed. Red Cross first aid workers rushed to perform CPR. They also applied a newly-acquired AED (automated external defibrillator) while awaiting the arrival of Wayne County EMS personnel.

The man survived.  “The ER staff said the Red Cross saved his life, as there was no way he would have made it if he had to wait for the squad to reach him inside the fairgrounds,” said Lara Kiefer, Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

Captain Doug Hunter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s office also credited the Red Cross crew, in a video posted on Facebook.  Capt. Hunter said, ” I want to recognize the life-saving efforts of the representatives of the Wayne County Red Cross.” He continued,
“They frantically started doing what they are trained to do and tried to revive this man.”  He went on to describe the use of the AED.  “It was not looking good folks. I had pretty much written this man off as not going to survive, but they kept going.”

Captain Hunter also credits a nurse from the Wooster Community Hospital for assisting.

“It was truly a remarkable moment,” Captain Hunter said, in describing the moment the man first showed signs of life. “The people from the Red Cross at the Wayne County Fairgrounds saved this man’s life.”

Most first aid requests involve far less serious ailments, but the service provided by the Red Cross was deemed so important, a facility was built on the fairgrounds for use as a first aid station during the run of the fair every year.

About 120,000 people attend the Wayne County Fair, and the Red Cross provides first aid service free of charge.  Red Cross first aid workers respond to 200-300 incidents each year.  Taxpayer money is saved, by reducing the number of calls made to 911.

Our first aid service at the fair has been valued at approximately $20,000.

But for the man who suffered cardiac arrest on Monday, no value can be placed on the life-saving skills of the Red Cross first aid responders.

You can learn the same life-saving skills employed by the Red Cross by taking a class, to learn First Aid, CPR and AED. Training for other skills, such as babysitting and swimming and water safety are also offered. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass.

Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross