XENIA — While many businesses are shutting down or having employees work from home due to the coronavirus, Xenia police and fire divisions remain fully staffed with some modifications to their daily operations.
“We have put protocols in place directly related to the virus,” Fire Chief Ken Riggsby said. “We have established a no-public policy, including family members in the stations. We have canceled all joint trainings between the stations, we have discontinued our rider program, canceled any tours that were scheduled, limited fire inspections. We have ramped up our disinfecting of the vehicles and the stations.”
XPD is also following Center for Disease Control recommendations.
“For the next few weeks we have asked officers to engage in social distancing as much as possible to limit exposure as they go about handling calls,” Chief Randy Person said. “For the time being, we have instructed officers to limit optional positive contacts with the communities in stark contrast to our normal operations. We have implemented new procedures for officers to reduce possible exposure by disinfecting our cruisers each shift and after transporting someone in the cruiser.”
XPD has also supplied officers with gloves and N95 masks for use when warranted, Person said. The fire division has the necessary personal protection equipment as well, Riggsby said.
In order to help mitigate exposure, both departments are being cautious when responding to calls.
Non-emergency and non-critical calls will be handled via phone only, according to Person.
Added Riggsby, “We will be limiting our non-emergency fire responses. We are still working with our medical director for the non-emergency responses for EMS. We will be following the CDC guidelines in reference to transports. We are looking at some policies to prioritize calls through dispatch in the event of seeing an increase in call volume.”
So far neither department has received more calls as the virus makes its way to the area.
“We have not seen any major decrease or increase of our call volume,” Riggsby said. “I fully anticipate that once we have a confirmed exposure in our area that we will probably see an increase in our call volume.”
Person also reported no rise in call volume, but he thinks that could change soon.
“We would expect to see a rise in family disputes and domestic violence as a result of family units spending more time together and having fewer options to get outside the home, but so far that has not been an issue,” he said.
Riggsby said XFD will continue to respond to 911 calls to nursing homes, many of which are non-emergency in nature and are simply calls for transportation.
“There we are working on a plan with them if possible for the nursing home to bring the patient to us at the door we came in,” he said. “I know some other jurisdictions have implemented this. I’m sure you are going to find as you contact all the fire departments, that they are pretty much doing the same thing which is following the CDC recommendations.”
Both chiefs also said they have plans in place in personnel become affected by the virus.
But that won’t hamper their ability to do their jobs.
“We can only ask patience and civility from the community as we progress through the next few weeks,” Person said. “If you need us, we will be there.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.