Homeland security asks fair-goers to be alert, vigilant

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MARION COUNTY – The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is leading an effort to prepare Hoosiers before they attend any summer fairs, festivals or carnivals.

Fair and festival season in Marion County officially kicks off Friday, as the Marion County Fair opens up at 5 p.m.

While fair-goers enjoy the sights and sounds, Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson hopes they will also be paying attention to their surroundings.

“Other things can occur during a festival,” he warned.

While each county’s health department is checking the food, the Department of Homeland Security is inspecting the rides.

“We do the initial inspection when the ride is initially set up. Then we do what we call is periodicals,” explained Greeson.

In between those checks, he is asking Hoosiers to be on the lookout for wear and tear; pay attention to latches, restraints, and electrical wiring. You should also make sure the ride has a Homeland Security permit on it.

“Maybe stand and watch that ride run a few times before you put your child on,” he added.

Visitors should also pay attention to other fair-goers and look for any suspicious activity.

“(If it) looks like they’re just not there for enjoyment… their attentions may be focused differently than everyone else. If they have a suspicious package or something. It doesn’t hurt to walk up and let that local law enforcement person know what you’ve seen,” Greeson told Fox 59. “That’s how many leads get reported to law enforcement.”

He said being alert could be the difference between having a fun or frightful visit.

“We want the people to enjoy themselves. We want people to be successful with their festivals. We want people to also take a little step back, use some common sense. Review your plans. Be vigilant with what you do and just stay safe.”

To report an issue with a ride, call Indiana Homeland Security at 1-888-203-5020.