Fun park takes steps to protect patrons from heat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fun park takes steps to protect patrons from heat

July 26, 2004

Lowndes County-- A South Georgia amusement park promises to be better prepared for emergencies. Twenty-eight thousand people packed into Wild Adventures Saturday. The heat index soared above 100 and several drink machines at the park were broken.

As a result, dozens of people overcome by the heat. At least one dozen of them had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Monday, the crowd at the park was pretty big, but nothing compared to Saturday.  "It was four times the amount we usually see for Christian concerts," said Jimmy Holmes, Park Vice President.

Combine the large crowd with extreme temperatures and a lack of fluids, and you've got a problem.  At least a dozen people were taken to hospital for dehydration and heat exhaustion, and about two dozen more were treated inside the park. "We opened some cooling stations and opened up our theaters and brought in additional EMT's and first responders and we gave away water and power aid in those areas," said Holmes.

But Holmes assures people this won't happen again. "I think this was a good learning experience for us," said Holmes. Park officials are already taking steps to protect their guests from the heat. They're adding more water fountains and new drink machines, so guests can get the fluids they need without having to wait in such long lines.

"We're going to have those things in place by this weekend," said Holmes. You'll also find more places to cool off soon. "We're going to be adding some more rain rooms and fans in the park," said Holmes.

So next time a dangerous situation arises like it did Saturday, this park will be better prepared. Park officials say Saturday's crowd was the second largest they've ever seen.


posted at 4:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com