Helping tens of thousands of people enter and exit the 2014 Farm Technology Days show — and keeping them safe while they're on the grounds — is a top priority for police, fire and emergency medical personnel throughout Portage County.
With agricultural producers, consumers and suppliers spread out over the 450 acres of displays, field demonstrations and other activities, this will take a concerted and coordinated effort, acknowledged Portage County Highway Commissioner Nathan Check.
"Planning for traffic at the event has been a collaborative effort among state, county and municipal agencies," Check said. "Fortunately, we have many professionals in law enforcement; fire and medical; engineering; and emergency management who have dedicated their time to ensure that the public is safe traveling to and from the event."
He noted the site provides an excellent location that allows for multiple guide routes from each direction using major highways, including U.S. Highway 10 and Interstate 39 to get traffic safely and efficiently to the event.
"We'll be splitting the guide routes to speed up the traffic flow," he explained. "Traffic from the north will be coming down I-39 and exiting at County Trunk HH. We'll be getting traffic from the south off I-39 at County Highway B, and then they'll use County R to access the show site."
Traffic coming from the east will come in on Highway 10. "Then we'll send them south on County R to the show site," Check said. "Fortunately, we've got a good infrastructure system around the site with the interstate system and county and state roads that we feel we can get traffic to and from the show pretty efficiently.
"County Road R leading to the site will be four lanes, with each lane splitting into the north and south lots, so we're able to split the traffic four different ways as they come into the site."
Traffic flow also will be aided by the latest technology, including Wisconsin Department of Transportation traffic modeling and signal re-timing using portable video equipment to monitor traffic and any incidents that might occur.
Portage County Emergency Services Department is combining with the city of Stevens Point, the village of Plover and the towns of Plover and Stockton to create a safe environment for all FTD participants.
During the event, the Plover Fire/EMS Department will have units available at the show site each day. One engine company, one rescue company with Jaw of Life, one water tender company and a total of four strike teams will be staffed daily. These apparatus will be staged in the Emergency Services area next to the Command Post. Fire/Rescue/EMS strike teams will be available utilizing 4-UTVs.
In addition, the Village of Plover Fire Chief and/or his designee shall conduct a fire inspection of the premise prior to the event opening. All fire codes shall be enforced as they relate to fire safety, fire extinguishers, exit signs, portable tents, food/cooking/serving operations, etc.
To protect the health and welfare of the general public, show participants and exhibitors, an Incident Command System has been established to:
· Control, coordinate and direct all emergency services at the show;
· Maintain law and order;
· Control the orderly flow of vehicle traffic and pedestrians into and out of the show as well as around the show site;
· Provide prompt alerts to the public of dangerous weather or other hazards, and;
· Implement recovery efforts and follow-up procedures if there is an emergency.
A medical helicopter landing site also has been established in proximity to the event location.