Campbell County 1st responders stay ahead of coronavirus:  Staff encourage citizens to partner in safety measures

First responders are out on the front lines every day protecting and serving the citizens of the Campbell County communities. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the Campbell County Department of Public Safety continually work together to provide services to those in need.

"As of this time, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19/Coronavirus in our area, but it is important to proceed with caution in all that we do to reduce the direct impact if that changes. As such, we are all working together to reduce unnecessary interaction that can lead to an elevated risk of exposure for both the public and emergency personnel,” said Director Tracy Fairchild, Department of Public Safety.

In the event of in-progress and emergency situations, local Sheriff, Fire and EMS personnel will be dispatched to assist those in need of such services, as usual.

“Our number one goal and priority is to respond as quickly as possible to life-threatening emergencies,” adds Fairchild. “If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1.  We are currently taking all calls for service. If you have a non-emergency, we encourage you to follow social distancing guidelines in reporting your need to our non-emergency number.”

When callers report non-emergency incidents by calling (434) 332-9574, E-911 dispatchers will determine if sending first responders is the safest course of action. This may result in the dispatcher asking additional questions to ensure safety protocols are utilized for COVID-19/ Coronavirus to minimize virus spread and serve citizens in the safest way possible.

 Citizens will be asked to report in a way that does not require a physical response to their location if the situation is a non-emergency incident. This will be accomplished by having the caller file a phone report for an officer to return the call.

 “The Sheriff’s Office is limiting its access to the public, so that we do our part in reducing the risks,” said Sheriff Whit Clark. “Visitors will only have access to the main desk until further notice. All citizens are required to contact us by phone at (434) 332-9580, or email at sheriff@campbellcountyva.gov. We are all committed to providing the most efficient and safest service to both residents and visitors. Cooperation and assistance in these trying times is greatly appreciated.”

In addition, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is taking further steps to mitigate risk, including:

·         Deputies are foregoing daily role calls in large groups and will respond to the station only to obtain their vehicles and necessary paperwork to complete their tour of duty;

·         Temporarily cancelling all ride-along tours and community events for the duration;

·         Suspending fingerprint services until further notice (exception to court ordered needs);

·         Deputies will engage in the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, latex gloves, and protective gowns (if necessary);

·         Deputies are cleaning patrol cars after each transport;

·         Deputies are recommending that calls for service meet them outside their residence, so as to ensure proper social distancing; and

·         Deputies request citizens to alert E-911 dispatch if they are exhibiting any signs of illness as well as advising the deputy upon arrival.

 “We value our face-to-face interactions with the public, but recognize the need to do our part to protect the public and our staff,” said Sheriff Clark. “We will continue to keep the public informed with relevant information and we appreciate the public’s understanding of our need to limit face-to-face contacts for the benefit of all. We are committed to taking appropriate actions that protect both the safety and the health of not only our community, but our first responders.”

 As an organization, Campbell County will continue to monitor the public health situation closely and will make adjustments as needed; however, organizational leaders stress the importance of taking precautions such as:

 ·         KEEP CALM AND WASH YOUR PALMS! (and the rest of your hands, of course.) Wash your hands often and thoroughly, for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Turn off the water faucet with a towel.         

·         Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands.

·         Always dispose of used tissues in a waste can.

·         Avoid touching your face. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

·         Review the Checklist for Families, provided by the Virginia Department of Health for ways you can keep your family safe during this time.

 County officials also remind staff, residents and visitors to visit www.campbellcountyva.gov, to register for News Alerts, or sign-up for CodeRED notifications to receive important local health and safety information.