First responders take part in ride drill ahead of NPF

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- On busy nights, 15,000 visitors come to the National Peanut Festival.

So different agencies committed to keeping you safe held special training for the ten-day festival.

They chose a risky rescue.

“We have about 8 people who are going to be trapped 35 feet above the ground. We've got to safely evacuate everyone off of that ride so they can begin repairing the ride and getting the festival back together,” says Dothan Fire Marshall Chris Etheredge.

Each agency has its own plans, but working together eliminates the risk of contradictions.

“Much like a football team on Friday night or Saturday afternoon, everybody knows how they fit in the game plan and they know what the play is that we're going to run before the play is called,” says Etheredge.

Spending time here before the crowd arrives has its benefits.

“Do we know where the galaxy is or where I Got Them Game is? So being here all of the time means we're familiar with the property and it reduces our response time thus saving lives in the long run,” says Etheredge.

While safety personnel is prepared for the worst in the past most issues have been minor.

“Majority of what we deal with are your basic first aid and of course the fire department handles and then we'll have small criminal issues like you would anywhere else,” says Dothan Police Lieutenant Pepper Mock.

“I've been a part of the peanut festival my whole life basically but been on the board of trustees for nine years and I’ve known of any major situations happening,” says National Peanut Festival safety officer Scott Palmer.

In addition to constant officer patrol, you'll find medical stations and a lost child booth.

“Anybody that's out here if you see something that looks suspicious say something to somebody you won't look far to find somebody that's official to say something to,” says Palmer.

Authorities advise parents to take a picture of your kids the night you attend the fair.

That way you will have a photo to give police that shows what your child is wearing and anything that would identify them if they do wander off.
National Peanut Festival board members, Houston County sheriff's officers, Pilcher's Ambulance, and Dothan Fire and Police were part of the training.