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Volunteers stand ready to offer medical help



Published: Sat, August 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



In recent years, the number of people seeking first-aid treatment has dropped by 50 percent.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- From bee stings to child birth, Red Cross volunteers have seen it all in more than 50 years at the Canfield Fair, and they are prepared for almost anything.

The most common injuries are blisters and bee stings, said Ethel Strange, Red Cross coordinator, but fairgoers also have sought treatment for hives, heat stroke and heart attacks, allergies, animal bites, abrasions suffered in falls and cuts.

The first-aid building, operated by Red Cross volunteers, opens at 8 a.m. the first day of the fair and remains open around the clock until midnight Labor Day, the fair's last day.

Most injuries and illnesses are minor, Strange said, but a doctor is on call and paramedics are always on site in the event of more serious conditions.

Last year, 28 fairgoers were transported to area hospitals because their conditions warranted more comprehensive care.

Years ago, Strange recalled, a woman operating a concession stand went into labor and delivered her baby daughter on the fairgrounds. "She was from Kentucky and wanted to go back home, but I told her she was in labor and wasn't going to make it," Strange said. "She named the baby Ann Canfield."

Numbers drop

In recent years, the number of people seeking first-aid treatment has dropped by 50 percent.

"We used to average 1,400 to 1,500 patients a year, but last year we were down to about 700," Strange said.

She attributes the decline to efforts the fair board has made to eliminate bees from the grounds and to fairgoers using common sense. More people are wearing comfortable shoes so there are fewer blisters, she said.

During the fair, 144 Red Cross volunteers will work a minimum of six hours in the first-aid building.

The Red Cross also operates an informational booth in the Medical Building and a bloodmobile, where fairgoers can make blood donations.

kubik@vindy.com




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