FAIRBORN — While the City of Fairborn Fire and Police Departments are still operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, slight changes have been made to protect the community’s safety personnel.
“For us, the most important thing is to protect the guys and gals on the front line and keep them healthy so that we can keep providing our services,” Fairborn Fire Chief David Reichert said.
Some day-to-day changes have occurred since this time last month, the chief said, including the stopping of offering tours of the fire department and ride alongs. Fire department officials are also not conducting business checks at this time to limit the amount of exposure they experience to the public. Riders in the back of medics that are transporting patients are also limited.
Fairborn Firefighters and Paramedics are still responding to all calls. However, they are utilizing personal protective equipment with items such as gloves and face masks, and are taking actions to conserve their gear.
Local first responders are conducting “threshold assessments” in which one member of the responding crew will approach the home first to see if the medical actions can be performed outdoors and/or by less responders. That way, crews are able to conserve as much of personal protection gear as possible.
“Anyone who calls 911 and are experiencing symptoms has to give us that information to dispatch so that our crew is made aware,” Reichert said.
The fire chief highlighted that fire department leadership are working from home and are navigating the situation via teleconferences. He said if a member of the Fairborn Fire Department becomes infected with COVID-19, “it starts a snowball effect.”
“It’s not just one person [who would be infected],” Reichert said, adding that his goal is to protect the family members of the fire crew as well. “It could dwindle our staff and ability if a firefighter is at home quarantined and can’t work … exposure would damage the amount of people out there on the street.”
He emphasized that COVID-19 brings about questions, but encouraged individuals to err on the side of safety.
“We have to work together,” Reichert said. “It’s not just the efforts of one, but the efforts of all to get through this.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a shelter in place order, which took effect 11:59 p.m. March 23 until at least Monday, April 6. Fairborn Police Chief Terry Bennington highlighted that the department’s goal is to work with the public and said he hopes officers can help individuals understand why the order is important.
“We want to take more of an educational role if we find people out that shouldn’t be,” Bennington said. “I think it is more important to try to work with everyone and work toward voluntary compliance during what I hope is just a brief window.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.