Fire and Police Prepare for First Responders Possibly Contracting COVID-19

Police and social distancing COVID-19
The Park Forest Police Department is committed to keeping our officers healthy so they can continue to keep the public safe. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, our daily roll calls have moved to a larger room and the chairs are spaced apart. Applying hand sanitizer and disinfecting our squad cars is becoming routine. (Photo Montage: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Park Forest Fire and Police Departments are observing CDC guidelines as they prepare for a first responder possibly contracting COVID-19. Both Fire Chief Tracy Natyshok and Police Chief Christopher Mannino said their respective departments are prepared in case the novel coronavirus comes to Park Forest.

Both chiefs said Park Forest currently has no known cases of COVID-19 among Village staff or residents.

But they’re preparing for the worst.

Police Chief Chris Mannino said his department has planned for the possibility of the disease arriving at the station, “Plans are in place should a first responder contract COVID-19 and are per CDC guidelines. At this time we have no known COVID-19 cases among any staff or residents in Park Forest.”

Deputy Chief Ryan Roberts
Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Roberts keeping his office clean as clean can be. (Photo: PFFD)

“We don’t have anyone here that’s sick,” Fire Chief Natyshok told eNews Park Forest. “We haven’t had a report of us transporting anyone that was sick yet either.”

“We are taking precautions per CDC. We’re looking at doing some shift maneuvers to try to limit any downtime to operations,” the chief said.

“Other than that, we’re just normal right now,” Chief Natyshok said, adding, “Knock on wood. I hate to say that word.”

Fire and Police personnel are reticent to relax when things quiet down. There is no “normal,” per se.

Officer Tim Jones says COVID-19 won't get me
Officer Tim Jones says, “COVID-19 won’t get me. Y’all be safe out there!” Police shared this photo March 24, 2020 with this quote, stressing the importance of social distancing. Police ask, “How is it we can see he’s smiling, even with that mask on?” (Photo: PFPD)

Chief Natyshok said he spoke with a friend out east in an area that has roughly three-times the population density of Park Forest, “He said that they’re getting hit real hard right now. He said to expect that we’re about a week or two behind them. I’m hoping we’ll have a little more success with social spacing.”

“We’ll see,” Chief Natyshok said.

Protect Firefighters and Paramedics
In order to protect firefighters and paramedics, please let dispatchers know if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms if you call 911. (Park Forest Firefighters Local 1263)