Darien Police, fire take precautions during coronavirus
While many in Darien and beyond are practicing advised “social distancing” to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus, some jobs don’t allow that luxury.
Darien Police and members of Darien’s volunteer fire departments can’t do their job from home.
Darien Police Chief Donald Anderson said the department is taking all necessary precautions and following the advice of first responder health and safety experts.
“We do have a supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but are looking to obtain more through state or federal portals when such equipment might become available. Keeping bodies, building and vehicles clean is the name of the game so far,” he said.
Anderson said that traffic stops and normal patrol are not really affected by the virus.
In terms of staggering staff in the case of a quarantine, Anderson said scheduling currently remains normal routine “as of now.”
“However, we are developing contingency plans should we have to go to longer shifts (12 hours perhaps) if we have any potential significant staffing shortages due to actual illness or quarantine,” he said.
“Since our schools are now closed, the two School Resource Officers have now been redeployed back to field services duties so that helps overall ‘patrol’ staffing numbers,” Anderson said.
So far, the department has fielded some calls regarding coronavirus — but nothing significant yet. However, Anderson wanted to remind residents that Darien Police are not health experts.
“We are certainly not health experts and would/do direct residents to the true health experts for guidance or advice (local, state or national),” he said.
One change the Darien Police Department has made is is strongly discouraging residents from seeking fingerprinting at this time. If fingerprinting is absolutely necessary, please contact the Darien Police Detective Division at 203-662-5330. The Child Safety Seat Installation service remains suspended.
Shane Smith of the Darien Fire Department said the fire department is also taking precautions, including wiping surfaces down and not entering structures until cleared by a senior officer.
The Darien Times has reached out to Darien EMS Post 53 for any changes in their policies.
Joe Larcheveque, executive director of Post 53 in Darien, said his staff of 100 volunteers are well prepared to handle the pandemic.
“We follow all of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines that are in place,” Larcheveque said. “We have everything they recommended.”
The CDC recommends a gown, gloves, respirator mask, face shield, and eye protection — which is a disposable shield that covers the eyes to make sure no respiratory droplets get in them.
“This is standard equipment for protecting us for a lot of different viruses and pathogens,” Larcheveque said. “We do the training ourselves. We shared it with all our members.”
He said he has reinforced the use of this equipment and made sure his team has them as the ready.
Aside from having the proper equipment, his staff has received mandatory training on the signs and symptoms of the virus, and what personal protective equipment to have on when dealing with a potential case.
He said his crews prepare for a lot of different scenarios.
“We prepare for the unexpected,” he said. “For all of our calls, we have at least a six-foot distance when we initiate contact. We do a verbal and visual assessment and then we can act as necessary based on the information we get.”
He said his crew also asks travel-related questions.
“We try to get as much information as we can to make the best decisions we can,” Larcheveque said.
Before Post 53 takes someone to the hospital, they advise hospital staff ahead of time that they’re coming in, so their staff can be ready.
Post 53 then cleans, disinfects and wipes down all surfaces and equipment in their vehicle for which the individual came into contact.
Regarding cleaning supplies, while Post 53 is fully stocked for the moment, “we have a lot that’s on back order,” Larcheveque said. “If we see a lot of volume, we could be in a precarious situation, but as of today we have what we need.”
For more information on coronavirus, the state has launched a hotline — call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211. Yale has also set up a hotline. The number to call is 1-833-ASK-YNHH. That’s 1-833-275-9644.
Those with specific health concerns should contact their own health provider.