Fire Department Actions Due To COVID-19
Dear Nichols Hills Resident,
This letter is to inform you of actions taken by the Fire Department and Nichols Hills Emergency Management during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City has been working diligently to ensure the safety of our employees and citizens we serve every day. The Fire Department has focused most of its training and procedures on the COVID-19 virus as information changes daily.
Some changes you may notice from our department are the (PPE) personal protection equipment we will be wearing on calls. This equipment consists of N95 masks, eye protection, and isolation gowns. You may see our firefighters wearing an N95 mask, safety glasses, and possibly medical gloves while investigating your home during a fire alarm call.
Our crews will also ask you certain questions as they arrive for your protection and theirs. Questions will be in the nature of, “Do you or anyone in the home have a fever, cough or sneezing, or has anyone been in contact with someone who has tested positive or suspected of having the COVID-19 virus?” and “Is someone in the home in quarantine or self-quarantining for safety measures?”
If you have a medical emergency requiring emergency response crews to come to your aid and experiencing flu-like symptoms, please put on a surgical mask before the crews arrive and meet them at the front door if possible. The supervising fire officer may limit the number of crew members needed to effectively manage the situation while the rest of the crew remains outside.
We have been working closely with EMSA, our ambulance transporting agency, on establishing response procedures on EMS calls. All 911 medical calls are screened with the EMSA dispatch center. Based on the information received, EMSA will determine if a fire department response is needed or just an ambulance response to flu-like symptoms or certain sick calls. Most area fire departments are temporarily utilizing this 911 medical screening. This is a way to limit unnecessary exposures to response personnel. These procedures are an added measure to keep our firefighters safe and healthy and ready to respond to our citizens. Also, all fire station tours are suspended until further notice and we are not accepting food drop-offs at this time.
Along with my role as Fire Chief, I’m also the City’s Emergency Manager. The Nichols Hills Emergency Management staff consists of the Mayor, City Council members, City Manager, and Department Managers. Over the past month, Mayor Goetzinger and the City Council passed an emergency ordinance with a couple of amendments concerning the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. These ordinances are very similar to the Governor’s Executive Orders and The City of Oklahoma City Mayor’s proclamations on this issue. Nichols Hills ordinances can be found on the City’s website at www.nicholshills.net.
City Staff is holding weekly meetings to discuss PPE and cleaning supply inventories along with department updates. Currently, we have proper levels of PPE supplies. Cleaning supplies have been a challenge as we place orders for the upcoming months with the large demand for these items. City Manager Shane Pate and I have been working with the State Emergency Management during this pandemic. The City has received fifty N95 masks from the State Emergency Management PPE supply. All Nichols Hills city buildings and emergency vehicles are being disinfected bi-weekly by a professional cleaning company. We continue to work daily with each department within the City as we fight the COVID-19 virus. Rest assured, the City of Nichols Hills is working hard each day to ensure proper safety and service is provided to the citizens of our great community.
These are difficult times for all of us, but we will get through them and will come out stronger. I have also seen good things happening through the Oklahoma Standard with people helping each other in a time of need. Let’s all continue to do our part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe!!