Extension is often involved in county and state fairs. We have 4-H’ers showing calves, pigs, sheep, and goats. Then there are canning, cooking, and coloring contests, not to mention tractor driving and horse events. Are you involved in coordinating or judging any of these or other events at your local and state fairs? Are you involved in other activities at those fairgrounds throughout the year? Are you involved in disaster planning for the fairs or the fairgrounds?
Whether your contact is someone on the fair advisory board, the fairgrounds manager, or someone else associated with the event or location, check with that person to determine if there is a plan and if Extension has a role in the plan. If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, consider starting a conversation. Here are three emergency plan examples to help you start the discussion:
- California Fair Services Authority: Fairgrounds Emergency Planning Guide
- Howard County (Iowa) Agricultural Society: Emergency Response Plan
- Michigan Department of Agriculture: Fairgrounds Emergency Plans
Note the similarities and differences. Each plan should be tailored specifically to the local community and its risk to hazards, as well as the potential of the site to serve as an evacuation point for other areas of your state.
Don’t think there’s reason to worry about an emergency plan? Consider this Four People Contract H3N2v at the Grant County Agricultural Fair or the Indiana State Fair stage collapse in 2011. An emergency might involve weather-related events such as tornadoes, strong winds, severe thunderstorms, extreme heat; animal-borne disease; or technological events such as a chemical spill or transportation accident. Help your fairs and fairgrounds be prepared.