Please take a few minutes to watch Mayor Barry McDonnell's second video addressing the coronavirus and the City’s response: https://youtu.be/TJUzLGGfkC0. It features Chief Nick Swinhart of Camas-Washougal Fire Department (Nick has been Chief since 2011, and has 31 years’ experience as a firefighter), and Chief Mitch Lackey of Camas Police Department (Mitch has been Chief since 2008 and has 30 years’ experience with CPD.).
These two men and their departments are out there every day working for the good of our community, and we thank them.
To slow the spread of this virus, we must use social distancing and stay at home whenever possible.
Both departments are seeing a dramatic reduction in traffic, with fewer groups out (most of them are families). Call volume is down for this time of year due to people staying at home. The community is doing a good job but could be doing even better.
Emergency services are going well, but we can’t stress this enough: please stay at home to help stop this global pandemic.
Both departments currently have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) – things like gloves, N95 masks, and eye protection – and appreciate the supplies made available to them by community members including Riverside Dental and Lutz Hardware Store. Even small donations help.
The departments are on a waiting list with the Department of Emergency Management to restock the supplies, which are expected next week. “We’re hopeful but concerned,” said Chief Swinhart.
The eight mayors of southwest Washington have let Governor Inslee know that we do have that need.
In terms of communication, the Chiefs get their information and recommendations locally from Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA), who has opened an emergency operations center (EOC) in cooperation with Clark County Public Health. They provide daily briefings seven days a week about the crisis and are a resource for working with the state to get supplies.
An EOC has been set up at the Camas Police Station that is ready to go should we need it. It would be staffed by various City personnel, including those from CPD and CWFD, and would allow us deploy personnel not only for public safety but also for other city services in a coordinated manner from one central point.
This is a public health crisis, and EMS and firefighters will be crucial in this process. CWFD has just a few vacancies due to retirement, but is at typical staffing for this time of year and can respond to 911 and medical emergencies. We are doing very well given the circumstances.
Overall, things are very positive right now. We don’t have people in City Hall, but we’re still open for business. Right now, we’re working to get information out to our more vulnerable population, who might not be online.
I can’t say this enough: stay at home if you can, maintain social distancing, and take this seriously. We have to do our part to make this is slow pandemic. In Camas, people do care, and we can have positive effects.
We appreciate you, Chiefs, and the people you represent. Thank you!