Coordination is the prescription to handle potential Firefly medical situations

Cindy Grygo of Hartly, Kent County Department of Public Safety assistant director of Public Safety, expects more medical calls this year during Firefly than last since the four-day festival has grown in size. On Wednesday she helped stock medical supplies in a trailer on the Firefly Music Festival grounds. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Cindy Grygo of Hartly, Kent County Department of Public Safety assistant director of Public Safety, expects more medical calls this year during Firefly than last since the four-day festival has grown in size. On Wednesday she helped stock medical supplies in a trailer on the Firefly Music Festival grounds. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — No resource is being spared to keep people attending the Firefly Festival safe this weekend. In addition to seven trailers and three medical tents, emergency medical responders, headed up by the Kent County Department of Public Safety, will be at the festival around the clock.

To ensure Firefly is fully staffed and Kent County emergency services are not reduced, New Castle and Sussex counties also are pitching in, providing 16 medics to help fill the 18 medics positions needed to provide 24/7 coverage beginning today.

“It wouldn’t be possible to run such an effective operation without the help of the other counties,” said Cindy Grygo, assistant director of Kent County Public Safety.

She and her colleagues assembled a Festival Guidebook for all medics and medical support staff working at Firefly to keep everyone on the same page.

“It’s important, especially since we don’t all typically work together, to coordinate and that includes being informed of who is in charge of what, which radio channels we will be using, where everything is located and the plan of action for responding to calls,” Ms. Grygo said.

At the 2014 festival, there were more than 550 medic dispatches, coming from an on-site center. With the festival having grown since last year, emergency services expects the number of dispatches to rise as well.

The center, located in a trailer in Lot 10, is full of radios, dispatchers and live streaming video from across the festival grounds to help determine the location of emergencies or potential hazards.

The on-site dispatch center is a vital part of Firefly’s public safety operation, but due to the nature of the event is not as effective as the county’s 911 Dispatch Center.

“It’s a little more difficult because at the 911 Center, we get an exact address but here, it’s more of an approximate location, like near a certain tent or another general area,” Ms. Grygo said. “But that’s why we have medics on the ground and we’ve broken the venue into sections to better direct our medics.”

The medics are not only on foot but on motor carts to get to emergencies quicker. Each medic is equipped with the same gear they would take to a call in the field.

“The real obstacles come when there is some sort of emergency within a large crowd, but there are medics all across the grounds, so the closest ones will work to get to the site as quickly as possible,” Ms. Grygo said.

Before the festival began, an entire trailer was full of advanced life support gear, ready for action.

“In general the population is young and healthy so most the issues we respond to are things like dehydration and heat exhaustion but we do have some other conditions that aren’t uncommon like sprains or problems that arise from drinking too much,” Ms. Grygo said.

She advises for those planning on drinking adult beverages to alternate water and alcoholic drinks.

“The past couple years, I’ve seen too many people miss the one show they really wanted to see because they were in the medical tent because they just over did it,” she said. “Everyone needs to look at Firefly as a marathon rather than a sprint.”

And speaking of races, footwear is one of the most important accessories to choose for the weekend.

“Some people who kept track last year logged more than 50 miles so I’d say take practicality over fashion,” Ms. Grygo said. “Sneakers may not look cute, but neither does limping around because your feet are covered in blisters.”

She estimated that medics went through thousands of band aids last year from tending to foot blisters alone.

If you are attending Firefly and experience any medical problems, visit one of the three medical tents on the grounds and dial 911 for any emergencies that arise.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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