Eta Phi Alumnus leads First Responders in Dearborn Heights
The following article was published on March 21, 2020, via Press & Guide (pressandguide.com). It was reprinted with permission from Jason Alley, Editor of the Press & Guide. The article features Phil Hall (Eta Phi/Oakland 2001).
Dearborn Heights first responders have to adapt during COVID-19 outbreak
The spread of the COVID-19 virus has changed – for now – life on the front lines for Dearborn Heights’ first responders.
Over the past several days, the Fire and Police departments have stepped up measures to further ensure the safety of personnel and residents. The Department of Public Works also has adjusted its operations as the city deals with the unprecedented global health crisis.
“We strongly recommend that all community members comply with the social isolation procedures recommended by local, state and federal governments,” fire Battalion Chief Phil Hall said. “Please look after each other. We will get through this and we will be a stronger community."
The department’s headquarters on Beech Daly and its Telegraph Road station remain fully staffed and ready to respond to any incidents. Hall said anyone who calls 911 should tell the dispatcher if they are having any signs of the virus’s symptoms so department personnel are prepared. Patients who are able to walk on their own may be asked to do so to get to fire vehicles parked in the street.
At the Police Department, Chief Michael Petri has implemented numerous procedural changes in an effort to reduce exposure of the virus, to both the public and department employees.
Third from the left - Brother Phil Hall (Eta Phi/Oakland 2001)
“Our officers have been equipped with proper protective equipment to be used while on patrol, and are utilizing the precautionary measures of continuous washing of hands and sanitizing of surfaces in their patrol vehicles and equipment worn,” he said.
The Police Department also has instituted telephone reporting for crimes that are of a less serious nature, and increased staffing to assist with additional calls. Examples of such calls include fraud/identity theft, larceny, destruction of property, traffic complaints, and private property accidents.
Residents with non-emergency service needs can contact the department at 313-277-6770 and press option 3 to contact an officer. Petri urged all serious crime, in-progress crime, or any incident that may pose a danger to the public should still be reported by calling 911.
Department of Public Works Administrator John Selmi said all non-essential services have been suspended, and all non-essential employees have been sent home, until further notice. Meter readers continue on their normal schedule, but the Water Department will not charge late fees for anyone who can’t afford to pay their bill due to layoffs or underemployment.
The DPW’s main phone number – 313-791-6000 – is answered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The Police Department’s non-emergency line can be used to contact the DPW outside of those hours.
“We have defined emergency calls as situations that could result in either potential property damage or a risk to public health and safety,” Selmi said. “Our staff is on-call during regular business hours, while we have an on-call supervisor for all emergencies.”
As an added precaution, water and sewer employees are asking customers if they have been out of the country in the prior 90 days, and if anyone in the home was or is sick, before entering a home or business for emergency reasons only.
Due to the fast-changing nature of the pandemic, the city is regularly updating its website and social media pages with listings of closures and resources.