Throughout April, the Missouri City fire and police departments have been making home visits to celebrate children's birthdays in the community and continuing to look for new and safe ways to connect with residents.
“This is great. During this COVID-19 pandemic that’s going on, it’s tough to really connect with people,” Missouri City Fire Chief Eugene Campbell said. “I’m all behind it. ... It’s a way to connect and support people and uplift them while we are all going through this."
While April 30 is the last day that the police department will do birthday wishes, Missouri City spokesperson Neethu Kalimkoottil said the fire department will continue the program for the time being.
Campbell said during the coronavirus pandemic, the fire department has adopted social distancing guidelines as much as possible and is following guidelines from local health officials and the state.
“We are trying to reduce the amount of time that we need—just like everybody else—to be in contact with people outside our family and outside the fire department,” Campbell said.
Furthermore, Assistant Chief of Operations Mario Partida said the fire department continues to seek innovative ways to service the community.
All firefighters have their temperature taken at the start of each shift and are wearing personal protective equipment on calls. The department has also upped cleaning and disinfecting efforts of fire stations and rigs.
“Overall, I think it’s been going very well,” Partida said. “We’ve been well-prepared, and we’ve kept everyone safe.”
Campbell said the fire department’s dispatchers, in conjunction with Fort Bend County, screen and track all coronavirus-related calls so it knows which crews may have been exposed to coronavirus patients.
“We looked at, 'How does the department support the city to make sure the city is successful?', 'How do we support the community to make sure not only can we respond safely but so they know that we are here for them?', and thirdly, 'How do we support our neighboring fire departments?'” Campbell said.