When the show kicks off Tuesday morning, temperatures will likely be comfortable. However, by the day's end, it may be 90 degrees F. As the show continues, the highs will creep upward, and could hit the upper 90s by Thursday.
It looks like 2011 will be a year all its own. Not quite the breezy temps from 2009, and hopefully not nearly as hot as 2007. Still, Progress City's EMS coordinator Bill Wood, whose day job is at Decatur's St. Mary's Hospital, is ready for anything.
"There's more people at Progress City at the show than there are in Decatur for those few days," Wood says.
In 2009, the EMS team treated a variety of ailments, including a broken leg and diabetic emergencies. Once that show had concluded, only eight patients were taken to local hospitals.
David Burkham, CEO of Decatur Ambulance, says this is down significantly from 2007, when temperatures were routinely in the 90-degree-F range. "That first day, we transported about 60 patients to local hospitals," Burkham notes.
Decatur Ambulance staffs one ambulance on the show grounds free of charge. Though, patients are billed for a ride to either of Decatur's two hospitals: St. Mary's Hospital and Decatur Memorial Hospital. Burkham says they're about the same distance, so it's up to the patient which location they choose. Once an ambulance leaves for the hospital, Decatur Ambulance has another outside the gates to take its place.
Changes from 09
From 2007 to 2009, the EMS station made one tactical change. Rather than being located in the middle of the show grounds, they found it better to be in the northeast corner. Wood says this provides a calmer environment than right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.
During the show, the EMS staff patrols the show in four ATVs, responding to emergencies. Additionally, Decatur Ambulance staffs two golf carts with paramedics. If need be, both agencies can add more response vehicles. Wood remembers they had 10 ATVs responding in 2007.
This year, the onsite physician team is also different. Previously, St. Mary's Dr. Jose Reyes treated patients all three days. This year, two St. Mary's physicians will handle the load: Dr. Kevin Oliver and Dr. Maria Granzotti.
The last change is the EMS staff will stay onsite one extra day. In the past, the staff hung around on Friday as exhibitors packed things up. This year, they'll be there until Saturday. Wood says the exhibitor packing frenzy that begins Thursday afternoon is one of the more dangerous times.
Tips and tricks
If you lucked out and experienced the ideal conditions of the 2009 Farm Progress Show, Wood has a few tips for 2011, just in case the weather isn't perfect.
First, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. With literally miles of paved roads, there is a lot of walking to be done. Tennis shoes are always a good bet, Wood says.
The show is scheduled for Aug. 30, 31 and Sept. 1 – the dog days of summer. Wear light, breathable clothing. Also, it's a good idea to pack a light jacket and rain gear, just in case.
Don't forget the sunscreen and be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Also, Wood says don't forget to eat. Yeah, it may be hot and you may not feel like it. But, it's important to get the nutrients your body needs.
Lastly, don't forget to bring any special medications. Decatur's Dale's Southlake Pharmacy is gracious enough to deliver emergency prescriptions to patients at the show. However, Wood says it's easier and cheaper if you just bring them along.