COVID-19 Update from Fire Chief
By Fire Chief Drew Smith
March 18, 2020

As the COVID-19 situation progresses I would like to let our residents know that the Prospect Heights Fire District is doing all it can to be as prepared as we can. We don’t know how long the situation will remain at this level. It is likely things will get more restrictive before they are lessened. It is also likely that even with restrictions lessened we will experience these effects to some degree for the next many weeks if not months. General Eisenhower is quoted as saying “Planning is everything, plans are nothing.” With that sentiment in mind, here is what the PHFD is doing to address all of our questions and concerns:

Daily, we are monitoring the CDC, IL Department of Pubic Health, and Cook County Health Department communications and receiving updates from them as distributed. Lead agencies on the outbreak management are these public health agencies, not the fire departments, hospitals, or emergency managers.

We are participating in webinars and conference call from these lead agencies as well as with our regional partner fire departments and with state and national organization of which we are members.

I am putting out a daily “situation report” to our staff that provides the latest of what we are learning and need to change or know.

We are having daily meetings to keep all of us on the same page. What we are covering includes:

-General employee health/well-being
-Station safety and cleanliness
-Adequacy of response and station supplies
-Alternative staffing plans for both Operations and Administration
-Changes in EMS/hospital protocols initiated by EMS or public health officials
-Updates from our medical director regarding EMS system approaches that affect us directly
-Staff communications
-Monitoring latest virulence research and EMS impacts
-Internal information management and finance monitoring and tracking
-Monitoring community reaction and news releases and channeling appropriate information to the community.
-Effort coordination with our government officials
-Anything else related to the outbreak

Our supply inventory is stable now but we also have additional supplies on order from our routine vendors as well as having put supply requests in to regional and state emergency managers. We are engaging our regional fire and EMS partners to coordinate shortages of either supplies or staff.

We are updating our social media sites regularly to share what we know and what you need to know.

The situation is very dynamic and is changing, updating regularly, often more than once daily. We will do our best to let you know what we know once we know it.