The West Hartford Fire Department has its boots – and wheels – on the ground in the Center and Blue Back Square, making sure that people are wearing masks and also ready to provide medical assistance.
By Ronni Newton
The West Hartford Police Department has officers on duty, walking the beat through the Center and Blue Back Square, and now the West Hartford Fire Department also has a team that is dedicated to circulate throughout the area.
The West Hartford Fire Department’s Bike Team, which launched Thursday night, is providing “medical help on wheels” and also promoting the wearing of masks.
“They hand out masks and can respond to advanced life support medical calls,” Assistant Chief Hugh O’Callaghan said.
The Bike Team is operating in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and the use of bikes allows them to quickly reach those who need medical care in areas where large fire apparatus may be difficult – or impossible – to maneuver.
They will also be on duty when there are special events that draw a crowd.
The Bike Team is staffed by two firefighter/paramedics. The team carries an automated external defibrillator (AED) as well as other advanced life support medical equipment.
Fire department “mask patrols” have also been putting up posters at local businesses and handing out buttons to promote social distancing and the wearing of masks in public throughout the Center and Blue Back Square. They are operating out of three vacant storefronts, Assistant Chief Mike Sinsigalli said.
The posters and buttons feature an image of a masked “Wearing is Caring” smiley face.
The mask patrols will operate on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in the Center and Blue Back, and will also be handing out buttons to wait staff at restaurants and to members of the public. Anyone who would like a button can stop by their table set up in front of the former Grant’s space on Farmington Avenue.
“Our town is committed to doing what we can to promote social distancing and the wearing of masks in public,” Sinsigalli said. “Right now, these are the only tools that each and every one of us has at our disposal to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our friends and neighbors. We are asking that all members of our community show that they care by wearing masks anywhere that social distancing cannot be maintain, even when outdoors.”
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