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Lehigh Acres Fire District takes proactive measures in response to COVID-19

By Staff | Mar 25, 2020

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District, similar to other first responders nationwide, are continuing to monitor information provided by the Department of Health and Lee County Emergency Management while also taking proactive steps to help prevent potential exposure of COVID-19.

Amidst the closures and shut-downs, the fire district’s personnel are following the same internal health protocols as other agencies and will continue to provide the same service it always has.

“The safety and health of the community is our top priority. We want residents to know that we are committed to continuing to provide quality fire suppression and advanced life support transport services to our community. Our staff is showing up to work every day and responding to calls quickly, and taking extra precautions in between each call,” Katie Heck, Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District spokesperson, said.

To ensure the safety of its staff, fit for duty employee screenings are conducted twice a day. The district has also taken proactive steps to protect the community, firefighters, staff and volunteers from possible exposure to COVID-19, including closing its stations to visitors, postponing public presentations, and limiting non-essential contact with the public.

“A lot of extra care is being taken to make sure our staff stays safe and healthy. The department has increased disinfection measures in our offices, stations and housing. We do a full disinfecting of all rooms twice daily and keep door knobs clean,” Heck said.

LAFR also has protocol in place in regards to mutual aid agreements with other fire stations if needed.

“We assist with other fire districts frequently outside of the current concern. Our normal practice is to have the closest truck to a fire get dispatched, so sometimes we step over district boundaries to assist each other,” Heck said.

Other station services will continue including the collection and exchange of sharps containers.

“We will continue doing sharp exchanges at Station 104 and Station 105. People seeking to exchange sharps containers can either ring the front doorbell or contact the station by phone. A firefighter will come escort them to the bay. We are offering additional sharps as well to anyone who needs them, with a limit of two containers,” Heck said.

In the absence of their regular school visits, the fire district launched a “Kid’s Corner” on its YouTube channel. The channel will feature short videos that are appropriate for kids of all ages with a focus on the elementary-level demographic. Parents can reach their YouTube channel by clicking this link: Lehigh Acres YouTube.

“I got the idea from the Cincinnati Zoo. I thought it would be a great way for us to stay in contact with the kids in our schools. Every day throughout the week, we will have a five-minute video, which will include firefighters reading short stories, covering safety topics and highlights of life inside our fire stations,” Heck said.

Heck also stressed the importance of the community coming out to participate in its upcoming blood drive.

“Our Blood Drive is this Friday, March 27, at Station 102 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. People can make appointments to come in or just show up. It’s still safe to go donate blood and there is real need for it right now. They are giving those who donate a $20 gift card, water bottle, and other bonuses because the need is so great,” Heck said.

According to Heck, the fire district will remain in close communication with federal, state and regional officials. Members of its staff convene virtually with the Lee County Emergency Operations Center and other Lee County staff regularly to align efforts across jurisdictions.

Updates can be found via website (www.lehighfd.com) and social media channels. The district operates as @LehighAcresFD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor.

The upcoming district board meeting scheduled for March 31, will likely be held virtually as a live broadcast. Information on public access will be given once logistics are confirmed.