Coronavirus Precautions by Mike Jones

It may not be business quite as usual for the Sylvania Township safety forces, but service to the public remains the top priority and is basically unchanged.

Both Fire Chief Mike Ramm and Police Chief Paul Long said the steps they’ve taken are meant to reduce the possibility of contagion by the coronavirus currently upsetting all aspects of life across the country.

Chief Ramm early on prohibited public entry to the fire stations, in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.  He said he regularly follows CDC updates an adheres to their recommendations.

He acknowledged that the work of the department, particularly in it delivery of emergency medical assistance, makes it impossible to avoid person-to-person contact, but all first responders are in personal protective equipment when they enter a site to provide aid.

He said the well-being of those they are sent to aid, is the  highest priority, but the well-being of department members has to be kept  in mind.

Three members of the Springfield Fire Department were recently placed in quarantine after transporting a man who later died of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
Neither the hospital nor the Lucas County Health Department told the fire department the outcome for the patient they had transported.

Chief Ramm noted that the circumstance was relatively new at the time and that communications by all agencies in the local health system have been streamlined and are working well.  Although there have been internal steps taken to guard against the spread of the virus, Chief Ramm said,  there is no question that the fire department will respond when needed.

Chief Long repeated that thought while explaining that the department has increased its use of taking crime reports over the telephone.

If someone notices a missing credit card and they want a police report of it, something like that, the department will likely not dispatch a cruiser, but will take the report by phone, the chief said. He stressed that in an instance of a crime in progress, police will respond rapidly.  

“In a domestic violence situation or a burglar is breaking in, we’ll be there immediately. No change.
But a report that can be taken over the phone will probably be taken over the phone. He said that internally some shifts have been altered to limit contact between officers and he is discussing with the police union the possibility of putting the community affairs officer and some detectives into uniform if needed.

In small ways, like not allowing someone to sit and wait in a police car while officers question another person in a two-car accident, the department is trying to limit the spread of the virus, Chief Long said.

Although both departments have made changes due to the threat of coronavirus, both Chief Ramm and Chief Long said that in an emergency situation there is no change in service to the public.

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