You can imagine that with so many people on the fairgrounds, safety is a big concern. But accidents can happen. That's why Upstate University Hospital opened the New York State Fair infirmary in 2005. Our Katie Gibas gives us a behind the scenes look.
NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- Fred Wolf is from Florida and has been a vendor at the Great New York State Fair since 1985. His wife usually gives him the shot he needs every two weeks. But this year, she wasn't able to make the trip.
"I thought if they couldn't do it, then I would have to find a VA. And I don't even know where the closest VA is here. So being able to do this and being able to walk back to work now is great," Wolf said.
Wolf is talking about the New York State Fair infirmary. It's a 22 bed facility that can handle everything from a minor scrape to a heart attack or stroke.
"Very frequently, we're able to turn people around and get them back out to the fairgrounds where as if we had an ambulance, we might need to transport a lot more people to the city. And that would overwhelm or has the potential to overwhelm the cities' emergency departments," said Jeremy Joslin, MD.
Last year, the infirmary saw 762 patients. That's a record since they opened in 2005.
"I wouldn't say it's chaotic, especially if you're used to working in an emergency department. But we definitely did get busy last year. There were a couple days that got very, very hot. And so we would see probably 10, 11, 12 people at a time," said Joslin.
This infirmary is mobilized more than just during the fair. It's booted up during any major events at the fairgrounds, like Nationals. And it can also be used in case of a mass emergency in the city.
Joslin said, "In case there was ever some major catastrophe or major bout of illness where we needed extra beds to take care of people. So this facility can expand out and be set up as a miniature hospital."
The infirmary is located behind the horticulture building, near tram stop 3.