CHICAGO — Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck and Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Richard Ford II today joined Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady to announce the latest efforts to keep first responders safe and healthy to ensure they can continue to serve Chicago's residents.
"Our most important responsibility is to keep Chicago safe during this pandemic," said Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck. "In order to protect the city, we have to ensure that our police officers and firefighters remain physically and emotionally healthy so they can continue to serve and protect our neighborhoods. Working with Dr. Arwady, CPD has developed a set of protocols to keep our facilities clean and safe. Officers have also been given specific instructions for safely interacting with people throughout their tours of duty."
More than 12,000 kits of infection control and protective gear have been distributed to police districts and Chicago police officers across the city. The protective gear kits were assembled and prepared over the past week by Department recruits who had training suspended due to COVID-19. These kits include masks, gloves, gowns and sanitizer wipes for officers in the field. Additionally, more than 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer have been distributed to officers and will continue to be distributed regularly.
To build on these efforts, several public, private and community organizations have stepped up to support first responders in their efforts to safeguard Chicago communities. Organizations have donated cleaning supplies and protective gear to local police districts to supplement the Department's resources.
"I want to thank the City for continuing to ensure Chicago's firefighters, paramedics and first responders have the protective equipment and resources they need to keep our residents safe," said Fire Commissioner Ford II. "While this pandemic is unlike anything that our City has ever faced, we are prepared, and we are ready to provide the service and care that Chicagoans have grown to expect."
The Chicago Fire Department has worked closely with CDPH to ensure all firefighters and paramedics responding to emergency calls have been provided with personal protective equipment — or PPE — specially designated to keep them safe during this time. Furthermore, the Department has implemented training protocols for CFD personnel on how to respond to emergency calls where there is a chance that disease transmission is possible. And as a precaution, these training videos and protocols have been made available across the Department for all fire and EMT personnel.
"Our first responders are invaluable to our city and we want to make sure they are healthy as they work to keep us safe," said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. "In addition to making sure they have the PPE they need, we are reminding them of the science-based recommendations like social distancing, hand washing, and staying home when they are sick"
Following guidance from public health experts, CPD and CFD have implemented new social distancing protocols at roll calls to better minimize the risk of transmission among members by ensuring limiting groups to no more than 10 individuals at a time and holding roll calls outside. CDPH continues to work closely with the Police and Fire Department to ensure districts and fire houses continue to receive the resources and support they need in addition to their protective equipment so that they can continue to serve and protect Chicago's residents.
For more information regarding the City of Chicago's response to COVID-19, please visit chicago.gov/coronavirus .