Lexington working on safety plan for Barbecue Festival

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- City officials are working on a plan to put up gates near the main stage at this year's Barbecue Festival as a better form of crowd control and to help EMS workers get to those who are sick or injured faster.

Last year, EMS workers had a close call when someone in the crowd got sick and it took a long a time for them to navigate the crowd to help the person.

About 150,000 to 200,000 people attend the event every year with its biggest concentration near the main stage.

Public Services Manager Phil Surratt says the city's goal is to create a five-foot wide path using the gates which would allow EMS workers to get in and out within minutes.

"Anywhere along that parameter will be within 30 feet of anybody that's got a condition going on" Surratt said.

Thirty EMS workers will be at the event plus an on-site field hospital.

They are the kind of precautions officials hope they won't need but will have nearby just in case.

"Safety is one of our main concerns," Surratt said.