Submitted by David M. Przybysz, Assistant Chief / President
It goes without saying that 2020 has not shaped up to be the year we were all looking forward to. COVID 19 had affected each and every one of us, either directly or indirectly, and unfortunately, it’s not over yet. It is our hope that you continue to take the recommended precautions while finding new and innovative ways to enjoy the summer months.
At the fire department, we have been very fortunate that not one member was inflicted with the virus. It should be noted that several of our members are front line, essential workers in the medical field in their regular jobs.
We have had to make many adjustments in how we meet, how we train and how we respond to 24 emergencies. We have taken extreme measures to sanitize and disinfect our station and our equipment. We have limited the number of members per truck when we need to respond to calls, and we perform pre-screenings and practice social distancing during our business meetings.
We are truly thankful to all the residents, the businesses and other agencies who have donated sanitizer, cleansing wipes, masks and other protective equipment as well as for all the monetary donations that keep coming in. Your continued support helps offset the negative financial impact that this virus has caused.
As most of you are aware, the biggest impact came with the very difficult announcement that our annual carnival had to be cancelled. It just simply wasn’t going to be logistically or financially possible for our amusement company, Tropical Amusements, to operate under the safety guidelines. Furthermore, for the fire department itself, it would have been virtually impossible to monitor and enforce the crowd size, sanitation requirements, social distance requirements, even under the “green phase”. In the end, public safety is our ultimate responsibility. It is our hope that we may be able to do something for the community, possibly in the fall, even if on a smaller scale. We still were able to hold our entertainment system raffle as we have always mailed you, our residence, tickets and the response was very positive!
We also had to suspend our hall rentals, although many rentals had cancelled on their own. At this writing we have been able to open the rentals back up, if only for small events and of course, with safety stipulations in place. We’re still making plans for our annual Glo-Ball Golf Tournament in September and working diligently to make sure we can do so safely.
The stay at home orders and all the restrictions that followed had an unexpected positive effect on the department. With life being less hectic and people staying and working at home, our call volume has dropped! Less calls means our community has been an even safer place to live! It’s also allowed us more time to maintain and update our equipment and our station. In addition, we answered several requests for “Drive-by” parades for folks celebrating birthdays and other special occasions while not being able to have friends and family gathered together.
We were most proud and honored to participate in the graduation parade for the 2020 Blackhawk High School Senior Class! It’s events like these that help us stay a vibrant part of our community!
None of us know yet, how the rest of this year and the years to come will play out but, rest assured, your fire department is here, working hard every day, for you.