|What's Happening at the Firehouse?|
|By Fire Chief Drew Smith|
|April 8, 2020|
We are 36 days into our COVID-19 operations. We began situational awareness and executing plans back on March 2. Things have ramped up quite a bit since then. Starting on March 14 we implemented heightened use of protective gear and cleaning. Since March 18 twice each 24-hours shift we screen every firefighter and paramedic by taking temperature and conducting check for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or flu-like illnesses. We have scoured the internet and vendors and beefed up our stores of masks, gowns, and gloves and think we’ll be good.
We began this planning and logistics more than ten years ago when the flu pandemic was thought to be as widespread as COVID-19. Luckily it wasn’t but it prepared the PHFD. Then we experienced the possibility of Ebola and developed additional strategies and resources. Now with COVID-19 we were already well-ahead of doing what needed to be done. It was a relief to have such plans already in place.
New guidance comes out almost daily. It’s like war; there’s new intelligence about the enemy constantly coming out. We’re on top of it, as best we can. We are well supported by our local medical oversight authority, the Northwest Community Emergency Medical Services System (NWCEMSS) and its staff. We are also supplied with great information from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
We remain committed to serving our residents and their families as well as the visitors and businesses of the fire protection district. And, we’ll do this with the dedicated professionals we call our members.