Emergency personnel train to rescue NPF visitors from potential ride malfunctions

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Multiple agencies joined forces Friday morning to reenact a ride rescue scenario in order to be better prepared in the actual event of an emergency if someone were to get stuck on one of the festival’s rides.

“To add a sense of security, we did a tabletop lesson this morning where all the main people from the police department, the fire department, and the city came together and worked through scenarios, talked about scenarios, and how we were going to do a hands-on if something were to happen,” National Peanut Festival Safety Officer Scott Palmer said.

Performing the ride rescue scenario is something Peanut Festival personnel have discussed for years, but this is the first year the group has actually acted out a practice exercise that reenacted someone getting stuck at the top of a roller coaster.

“If we don’t sit down and talk through those actions together, we may contradict each other and get in each other’s way,” Dothan Fire Marshal Chris Etheredge said. “So, the best thing for us to do is go through those actions and know the game plan much like a football team on a Friday night. It’s better if everybody know the play that’s going to be called,”

Officials want to reiterate that no major emergency has ever happened in National Peanut Festival history, which dates back 76 years.

However, they wanted to perform this exercise to give fairgoers an extra sense of security that law enforcement and rescue personnel are suited for the situation if it was to occur.

“On a busy night, you’re looking at anywhere between 13-15 or 16,000 people total coming through the gate from opening to close, so we have to be prepared for that,” Lt. Pepper Mock said.

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