June 30, 2021
Did you know Dollywood has its own Safety and First Aid team? I was able to meet some of these hosts and learn more about the services they offer Dollywood guests. During my visit with the team, I met Al, Becky and Jerry. (For reference, I’m standing between Al and Becky.)
Al serves as Safety Manager and oversees all Safety and First Aid at both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Becky has been in EMS for more than 20 years and now has been with Dollywood for four years serving as First Aid Team Lead. Jerry was a paramedic for more than 30 years and has been a paramedic at Dollywood for two years now. The Safety and First Aid team consists of nine full-time and 12-16 part-time hosts who manage all of the daily needs at Dollywood.
On a normal day, they see more than 60 people with various needs. This is either people stopping by one of the First Aid stations or calls the team responds to throughout the park. The most-common ailments include blisters, sunburns, bee stings, overheating and dehydration. They are trained and staffed to handle any major emergency as well. The Safety and First Aid team has four “mini ambulances,” which are golf carts modified with a full stretcher.
There are four Safety and First Aid stations throughout the park: The main one is in The Village (near the train), one in WildWood Grove, another by the Mystery Mine restrooms and in the Pines Theater complex.
The Safety and First Aid team also handles workers compensation, drug testing and the onboarding of hosts when hired by Dollywood. During the off-season, they are busy conducting trainings, fire alarm testing, cleaning and maintenance of equipment and handling all safety checks. The staff shared some tips that help you avoid paying them a visit during your next Dollywood outing!
💦 Save water rides until later in the day instead of the morning to keep wet shoes from causing blisters while walking all day.
☀️ Put sunscreen on first thing in the day and re-apply as needed.
💧 Pace yourself and stay hydrated.
🥵 Think of little ones and seniors. Be sure to visit air-conditioned places or stop and enjoy a show to take a break and cool off.
👒 Hats are a great idea, but make sure they’re breathable. Some hats hold the heat in, which can make the problem worse!
It was a pleasure meeting Al, Becky and Jerry, and I loved being able to spend time learning all about the Safety and First Aid staff. When I was talking with Jerry, he shared about his 30+ years in EMS and the toll it took on him dealing with all of the emergency trauma. He shared that working at Dollywood has been a healing experience for him. After dealing with emergency trauma for decades, it’s refreshing to come to work to hear guests laughing and having a great time. He said he needs Dollywood more than Dollywood needs him because it’s been so good for his soul. (I agree with Jerry. I need Dollywood, too.) Next time you are at the park, know that you are in great hands for any emergency that may arise—no matter how big or small!
All Insiders Behind the Scenes
All Insiders Behind the Scenes
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