How you can help your community during Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
We spend a lot of time asserting in our MFAA meetings and conferences about how we want members’ bosses (whether they be Business Managers, Superintendents or Town Administrators) to respect the position more. I urge my fellow MFAA members to step up and be a leader in your community. Whether you are or are not involved in town operations, you should start now. You have employees who are experienced cleaners, trained in the use of high end disinfectants. You have the knowledge, the equipment, and hopefully, product that can help protect other people in the Public Safety realm who are all working through this pandemic until it is over. I urge you to step up and encourage your Superintendents, Administrators, Town Committees, etc., to bring you on board in leading the fight to keep your communities healthy. In Franklin I have coined a phrase for it.
“Keep First Responders Healthy Initiative”
1) Do you own electrostatic disinfecting guns? Get permission to spray Police, Fire and any other town properties that are still open.
2) Is your DPW still working, at least the water people since they are required to do daily testing? Spray their workplaces.
3) Your Fire Department probably has high tech equipment to clean their ambulance patient area but what about the driving compartment? How about the truck that goes to the call with the ambulance?
4) Police spend most of their time riding in cruisers. Disinfect all their cars to safeguard their health.
5) If your DPW is still working, spray the inside of all their trucks to kill any germs and viruses
Your first responders will be very appreciative for anything you do for them to help keep them healthy as they battle on the front lines of this crisis. You and your staff have the training and knowledge to make a difference. You will be building bridges and creating allies in your community that will be invaluable going forward.
In all reality, the size of their buildings and the interior of their vehicles will actually require little product to disinfect. Once you start, do it on a schedule going forward. Tell them, repeatedly if need be, we just want to protect your health.
If your bosses complain about this idea, remind them that we are under a state of emergency and all monies for overtime, equipment, and product will be reimbursed in the end.
Please post to the MFAA website what you are doing already, and if you adopt this process, post how it goes. If you have questions, post those as well and we will all help.
Let’s show our residents and town leaders that our MFAA members are indispensable contributors to the wellbeing of our communities, during times of crisis and times of calm!
If you need any further advice, I am always available and my cell phone number is listed on my profile.
If you are wondering, I am doing everything I have suggested above and trying to think of new things to help them out every day.
Use the phrase.
“Keeping First Responders Healthy Initiative”
Protect the people.
Michael P D’Angelo
Franklin Town / Schools
MFAA Vice President
Excellent suggestions on how to show leadership in a crisis! What an opportunity for our MFAA colleagues to be supportive of the various “first responders” and “essential staff” in their communities – whether their facilities group normally provides custodial/maintenance support or not. There is no “one size fits all” approach to how we are all dealing with the COVID-19 situation and it changes daily. I find it very helpful for my MFAA colleagues that take the time to share their stories on this webpage. Here is what we are doing in Wellesley, where facilities is responsible for both school and municipal buildings:
- All Schools closed (limited administrators in Supt’s Central Office) and most municipal buildings closed with a skeleton crew of administrators working there intermittently.
- As a result of these closings and the Governor’s order for “non-essential” staff to to shelter-in-place, I’ve directed the vast majority of our custodians and maintenance staff to stay at home – and receive their regular pay. We are; however, providing custodial support in buildings in which first responders work.
- First Responder Locations -Police, Fire, DPW and Health Department: We are providing our regular custodial crew at all but fire. Firefighters typically perform their own cleaning, but we have jumped in to help them with twice weekly deep cleaning and disinfection.
- Custodial Services on Other Closed Building – Town Hall, School Supt’s Office, Library: We open and close these buildings and provide limited custodial (trash and bathrooms) for the few staff required to work there (mostly doing payroll, food services, etc.).
- Maintenance: Our in-house was also told not to report to work (same union as custodians – equity issues), but must be available to respond to emergency work requests in any of the buildings.
- Building Checks: We are doing daily in-person checks of schools and other closed municipal buildings, supplemented with remote checks of our HVAC systems using Metasys.
There are overtime costs to consider for those facilities staff working to support Police, Fire, DPW and Health Department, but to Michael’s point, these buildings are relatively small and the health/safety benefits that the custodians can provide are tremendous and greatly appreciated by the first responders. Most all of this OT will probably be reimbursed by FEMA eventually too as he indicates. It’s certainly not easy for custodians to clean/disinfect these 24/7 facilities with police, fire fighters and DPW working there at the same time (concerns with infection – both ways), but if they take proper precautions it’s manageable.
So I strongly support Michael’s challenge to our membership to offer custodial support to your first responders in your community! Let’s all push the “Keeping First Responders Healthy Initiative”
Stay healthy and safe.
Hudson Public Schools – For a few weeks we have been deep cleaning and sanitizing all schools. We had already pre-ordered additional GenEon equipment to be prepared in the event that our units began to fail. We have been using this method of sanitizing for four years whenever flu season starts. When the situation became more intense we offered the extra equipment to the DPW, Police and Fire departments along with the Senior Center for their space and bus used to bring the elderly to doctors appointments and shopping. DPW, Police and Fire are using the misting equipment for vehicles that change hands, office areas, meeting spaces, gyms and cells. We prepare the electrolytic solution at our Middle school which is open for a couple of hours to prepare food for the community. DPW does Town Hall and the Library.
It seems to be working out fine for the time being and we pray that the equipment holds up. All our schools with the exception of the middle school and administration building have been cleaned sanitized and have been sealed off from access. The boilers, water heaters and main water service has been shut off until further notice. We will still do occasional building checks and the police are doing rounds which include the schools. Our custodians are home and on call. Our technicians are also home and on call to handle emergencies. Other than that it’s business as usual.
Stay safe and healthy, best wishes to all. We’ll be back to the normal list of complaints soon I hope.
Len Belli – Hudson Public Schools 508-626-6904.