CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – As fairgoers check out the sights and sounds of the first day of the Canfield Fair, inspectors are quietly making their own rounds as well.
Wednesday was inspection day at the fairgrounds, making sure that the food and drink that attendees buy and the buildings that they visit are safe.
Among them are a dozen firefighters from Canfield and neighboring departments, checking each and every building, trailer and vendor — close to 600 in all.
“We check for fire extinguishers, we check for gas, got shut-offs, make sure the stand is electrically grounded,” said Cardinal Joint Fire District Deputy Chief Matt Rarick.
Last year, new state code went into effect requiring vendors using propane to have emergency shut-off valves and safety signage. Vendors were told in January that the changes would be enforced this year.
Firefighters say in more than 30 years since inspections were initiated, there has only been one small fire during the fair, and it was quickly extinguished.
In fact, firefighters say nearly all 130 runs they had last year were for first-aid or fairgoers complaining about the smell of natural gas near food stands.
In the meantime, sanitarians with the District Board of Health are inspecting more than 300 food vendors. They’re checking licenses, making sure each stand keeps food hot or cold and that each has a three-compartment sink with hot water to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils.
They also stress that food is not to be touched by bare hands.
“You know, some type of barrier, whether it’s gloves or tongs or even deli tissue between that product and the bare hands is what we’re looking for,” said Sanitarian Cory Powell.
Each stand that passes inspection gets a sticker that customers can see. Inspectors say with this being one of the largest county fairs in the state, they make sure that the rules are enforced.
“You’re talking a place that has 100,000 people. The risk for injury and death from an explosion or fire is just heightened because of the number of people out here,” Deputy Rarick said.