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Community response to COVID-19
Your West Chester Township staff regularly plans and is prepared for potential crises that could affect service to residents and businesses of the community. With COVID-19 spreading throughout the country, staying in contact with official communication channels is vitally important.
For news on COVID-19 and steps to take to manage health risks and concerns, it is always best to seek information from official sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Butler County Health Department.
“These agencies provide the best and most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and steps we all can take to reduce our risks,” said West Chester Fire Chief Rick Prinz. “Simple hygiene practices like hand-washing and not touching your face are practical in reducing the spread of viruses. In the case of COVID-19 where community spread is becoming more commonplace, social distancing is also an approach to protecting your health.”
In addition to regular visits to the CDC and Butler Health Department websites for information, taking the time to follow your local community communication channels is also important. West Chester will communicate critical information about local response through its electronic newsletter (subscribe at westchesteroh.org) and official social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor.com).
“Our staff is prepared to take necessary actions to protect our residents and businesses; as well as our staff,” said Township Administrator Larry D. Burks. “The most critical safety needs of our community will be a priority under any circumstance and residents will be informed through various communication outlets if other services are impacted.”
West Chester public safety departments (police, fire/EMS and 911 dispatch) have protocols in place for staffing and response during times of crisis – pandemics and other crises. All of these plans are designed to preserve the most critical services of each service area.
The West Chester Fire Department expects to cut back on non-essential public appearances and community outreach in the coming weeks to reduce risk of contact and potential illness among firefighters because of non-essential service.
“Our staff comes in contact with patients every day, especially vulnerable patients, and it is not necessary that we add to the risk of contracting an illness or spreading an illness during this time when it is more important than ever that our crews remain healthy,” Chief Prinz said.
Police road patrol will be the priority if COVID-19, or any other crisis, affect staffing of the West Chester Police Department, said Chief Joel Herzog. Administrative duties, outreach functions and non-critical investigations will take a back seat to putting officers on the street handling the immediate public safety needs of the community.
The 911 Communications Center also has a crisis-staffing plan in place to ensure trained dispatchers are always ready to take your call.
“Residents and businesses should have confidence that we are prepared to handle emergencies when they arise; and they should take steps to make sure they are connected to official communication sources for any updates,” Burks said.