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Festival ‘emergency room’ treated 125

by Tom Chillemi

While the recent Urbanna Oyster Festival was a success, town administrator Lewis Filling said that there should be ways to help festival visitors who are elderly or partially handicapped.

Filling, who is a member of the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad, told council members at Friday’s work session that some elderly or handicapped persons have trouble walking the distances that the festival requires.

Filling said that a temporary “emergency room,” complete with doctors and nurses, was set up at the rescue squad building on Grace Avenue. There were 125 patients seen with minor problems, including some elderly persons who needed rest.

Personnel handled 14 injuries on Friday and 8 on Saturday of the festival. Of the 22 people seen in that emergency room, 8 were transported to area hospitals. One patient refused treatment because she wanted to go to her own doctor, said Filling, so the staff put a temporary cast on her broken ankle.

This is the third year for the emergency room, which was staffed by 90 volunteers, said Filling.

In another matter, Filling said 39 people were arrested for being drunk in public this year during the festival, and one person was arrested for assault. Charges were also made for possession of drugs, underage possession of alcohol and domestic violence, which brings total infractions to 44, he said.

Filling told council members that .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) is the legal limit for being intoxicated. The “lowest reading” for BAC of those arrested was .24; the highest was .38, indicating that police arrested only those with high BACs. 

In another festival matter, Filling said the town spent $34,000 to hire additional deputies for in-town patrols. The State Police have always provided services at no cost, but due to state cutbacks the town may be charged for their services next year, said Filling. “That (no cost) probably is not going to be that way any more.”

Filling noted Kevin Barrick of the State Police, Middlesex Sheriff Guy Abbott and Marcie Parker of VDOT went out of their way to help the town and the festival.

The VDOT clean-up crews did an exceptional job, Filling added. “For an event of that size, I don’t know how it could be handled any better,” he said.

posted 11.19.2008

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