Waverly first responders talk safety during RAGBRAI - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly first responders talk safety during RAGBRAI

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First responders in Waverly say they're prepared to handle an influx of people during RAGBRAI.

The city's population will nearly triple on Thursday while it hosts the ride's overnight stop.

Heidi Solheim from the Waverly Health Center says first responders are prepared to handle the extra people, and they'll continue providing necessary services to the citizens of Waverly.

She said there is extra staff on hand, and the hospital has a lighter schedule with other types of appointments to help free up space for RAGBRAI riders.

Ambulance Manager Jim Schutte said he's confident they'll be able to handle their day-to-day call load in addition to RAGBRAI incidents..

"We've got our community well covered," he said. "We have support from outlying communities. We rely on each other on a day-to-day basis, so this shouldn't be any different."

Meanwhile, Waverly Police Chief Rich Pursell said the priority on Thursday and Friday is going to be safely maneuvering 20,000 people on the roads that aren't used to handling that amount of people.

Pursell said response times to criminal violations may be slightly delayed because of road closures and the influx in people, but he said is won't significantly reduce response times because law enforcement officers will be placed throughout the community.

He also said there will be certain officers, working in partnership with other agencies and public safety volunteers, who only respond to RAGBRAI incidents, and other officers will handle non-RAGBRAI incidents.

"We feel pretty good where we're at, and when you think about tripling the population in a 24-hour period, I think we've got some pretty good plans in place," he said.

According to RAGBRAI event organizers in Waverly, more than 700 volunteers are aware of the plans for severe weather, crashes, etc., and they are ready to implement those plans as needed.

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