FAIRBORN — First responders across the City of Fairborn are taking steps to keep themselves safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both local police officers and firefighters/paramedics are wearing personal protective equipment when dealing with members of the public while at the same time are taking action to conserve the gear that they have available.
The Fairborn Fire Department is conducting threshold assessments when they answer calls which means 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.
“Right now, every call that our crews go on, they’re in full PPE,” Fairborn Fire Chief Dave Reichert said. “That’s gloves, goggles and N-95 masks. It will be the ones that don’t come in as a potential COVID-19 patient that could potentially take out a crew by potentially being exposed.”
The chief shared that the department has purchased rain suits at it is in need of gowns, which are only used in certain incidents such as requiring aerosol treatments for patients.
Crews are also limiting to exposure of the public by pausing station tours, business checks and ride alongs, and have restricted the amount of medic riders. Fairborn Fire Department officials are also in regular contact with the Greene County Public Health Department, hospital networks as well as fellow Greene County fire chiefs.
“Our primary goal is to limit the amount of exposure they may have,” Reichert said. ” … It’s to ensure the safety of our crews.”
Fairborn firefighters/paramedics are also having their temperatures checked prior to reporting for work.
“It’s a 24-hour per day, seven day per week process to stay on top of this, but I cannot say enough for everyone on the department on how everyone has jumped in to ensure we’re successful as we move through this,” Reichert said.
Fairborn Police Chief Terry Bennington highlighted that one of his first priorities as the pandemic kicked off was to ensure that officers had enough PPE to go around, limit their exposure to the public as much as possible and change daily operations to protect personnel, their families and citizens.
Bennington explained that changes first occurred in response to COVID-19 to the jail with inmates initially being questioned about their potential exposure, as well as having their temperatures taken. Inmates from outside agencies were also not accepted to come into the Fairborn Jail, and local judges changed the bond schedule for non-violent individuals to reduce the amount of inmates.
Roll call, which takes place when officers report to work, and police cruisers were moved to the substations, the police lobby closed and officers stopped responding to medic calls unless they were needed for safety purposes. Officers began taking as many complaints as possible over the phone but were to wear appropriate PPE when dealing with the public face-to-face. They were also advised to keep a six-foot distance between themselves and others.
Dispatchers were trained to ask questions regarding possible exposure and were given the necessary space within the dispatch center. Bennington said they normally sit near each other. Detectives began working from home unless they needed to come into the station to conduct an interview, and police administration and records personnel began working from home as well. The records division could not completely shut down, but personnel split shifts.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.