Safety top priority this Dad’s Weekend

Cougs have spent weeks preparing for Dad’s Weekend – buying tickets for the football game, stocking up on tailgating supplies and learning how to tease their hair à la Ann Wilson of Heart.

For Pullman’s emergency service departments, they are also making preparations for the increase in the number of people and events.

Alison Weigley, community relations coordinator for Pullman Regional Hospital, said the hospital works with the Pullman police and fire departments and other agencies to keep everyone aware of situations.

The hospital’s emergency department will staff an extra set of hands for the night shift this weekend, Weigley said.

“That’s not unusual practice for any community event that brings more folks to town,” she said. “Football games, Lentil Fest, big concerts – we might add one or two nurses.”

Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston said firefighters in his department work overtime for these events, which inflate the town’s population beyond normal levels.

“With a town of 30,000 I’d say we’re pushing 75,000 on, say, Apple Cup weekend,” he said. “I’ll bet it doubles or triples, for sure.”

Heston said at these times he utilizes as much of his staff and as many resources as possible.

“Our past history of the call volume has dictated that for us,” he said. “For Dad’s Weekend it’s more of the same.”

WSU Police will staff a few more officers than usual for the Heart concert on Sunday at Beasley Coliseum, Assistant Chief Steve Hansen said.

Extra staffing is standard protocol during major events at WSU, when police typically respond to more incidents, Hansen said.

Weigley said the hospital’s staff responds at a moment’s notice to increases in call volume.

“Our emergency department is designed to respond to extreme trauma or a sudden increase in patients at any given second,” she said. “Should this happen, a trauma code is activated and the on-call teams are called in. So rest assured, we’re always ready.”