LONDONDERRY — For many facing social distancing challenges within families and the community, the rules are to just stay home.
For communities and their emergency first responders, always on duty, the current times with the new coronavirus outbreak offers a different type of challenge — keeping citizens and themselves safe.
Londonderry fire Chief Darren O'Brien told town councilors recently, it's his utmost goal to make sure the community is safe.
At a meeting March 16, O'Brien gave recent virus updates while ensuring he would make sure all would be done to promote public safety while also keeping his crews safe at the same time.
"We are working around the clock to make sure we have the latest information," O'Brien said.
The Londonderry police and fire departments have installed an official emergency management center to keep the public informed on the latest virus updates and community efforts to keep citizens home and away from potential dangers like crowds or other gatherings.
"I ask citizens to help me help you," O'Brien said.
When it comes to his crews that are out in the public working fires or accidents, it's also a key effort to keep first responders safe.
If calls come in, O'Brien said it's imperative to let responders know of any coronavirus exposure or positive results.
"Let the dispatchers know of a result if one is in need of emergency services, if tested and/or positive," the chief said. "We want to make sure our responders are safe."
If that was the scenario and a call for help was made, the chief said his first responders would be in the proper protective gear for their own protection and for that of those in need.
"We would try to limit exposure," O'Brien said, adding if a situation came up where police were also summoned to a location, fire crews would not go inside unless it was an official police issue.
O'Brien said his crews were continuing to provide all the services the community requires and needs, but in this trying time, specific efforts would be put in place for added protection.
"That's the way we'll get on top of this," O'Brien said. "I will work my fingers to the bone to keep this community safe."