Richardson first responders are looking to the community for support as cases of the novel coronavirus increase locally.
Chief Curtis Poovey of the fire department said his staff has made several adjustments to stay in compliance with safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are reacting daily, if not every few hours, to the changes in CDC recommendations [and] changes in the county orders,” Poovey said.
According to Police Chief Jimmy Spivey, 911 calls have decreased since the shelter-in-place order went into effect. No fines have been issued for violations, he said.
“We haven't had to enforce the ordinance at all,” Spivey said. “I think everyone realizes this is serious business.”
According to Spivey, the police department only has 300 N95 masks for its 170 officers. Despite this, he said he is grateful for the community's generous response to frontline workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“I'm not sure that we would have any N95 masks if not for the donations that we've received,“ Spivey said. “The public's been incredibly generous to us, and we know that this community has our back.”
The Collin County Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce donated 4,000 basic surgical masks to Richardson’s first responders. These will be place on sick patients as well as used to protect fire and police personnel, Poovey said.
Different organizations and community members have donated protective medical gear and sanitation items to the department, Spivey said. Local bar and restaurant Lockwood Distilling recently switched from making alcohol to hand sanitizer, some of which the business donated to Richardson's first responders.
“We've had everything from surgical masks, hand sanitizer, gloves ... We've had all kinds of things that have been donated to the department,” Spivey said.
In case of an emergency, Poovey is asking the community when possible to call 911 instead of going to fire stations for medical help. This will ensure first responders are able to appropriately protect themselves, Poovey said.
“We've got to keep these ... first responders healthy to respond to the community,” Poovey said. “... It's going to take all of us to win this fight.”
Medical gear, sanitation items donated to first responders in Richardson
Local bar and restaurant Lockwood Distilling Co. donated hand sanitizer to the Richardson police and fire departments. (Courtesy Richardson Police Department)