Bayonne Fire Chief details daily operations, new protocols amid COVID-19 pandemic

Chief Keith Weaver described the new programs enacted that have kept the department running smoothly

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Bayonne Fire Chief details daily operations, new protocols amid COVID-19 pandemic
Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver addressees the community on May 2.

Mayor James Davis has sought to keep the Bayonne community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of weekly video addresses on social media.

Throughout the videos, Mayor Davis has invited various law enforcement and other city agency leaders to speak on the status of their operations in the city, including Chief of Operations at McCabe Ambulance Mike McCabe, Chief of Hospitalist Medicine at Bayonne Medical Center Dr. Vijay Singh, and Police Chief Robert Geisler.

Fire Chief Keith Weaver joined Mayor Davis’s video address on May 2. Prior to Weaver’s address, Davis touted more positive results from Bayonne Medical Center and recent decreases in cases in Bayonne as the curve has appeared to have flattened in the city.

However, Mayor Davis cautioned residents about spiking the football too soon, or preemptively celebrating the end of the pandemic before its actually over.

“We aren’t there,” Davis said. “We are closer but it’s not time to do away with social distancing just yet”

Mayor Davis also commended residents’ “incredible actions” in adhering to the social distancing measures.

Daily operations during the pandemic

Chief Weaver then took the podium, first thanking all front line responders as well as Mayor Davis and the city government and other vital agencies for their response during the pandemic.

“We take great pride in being on the front lines of this crisis alongside McCabe Ambulance with their emergency medical calls through our first responder medical program,” Weaver said, thanking Chief Mike McCabe and Bayonne Police Chief Robert Geisler.

Chief Weaver reminded residents that the Bayonne Fire Department continues to operate and respond to other calls despite the ongoing pandemic. This includes the recent rescue of a second kayaker offshore Bayonne in just two weeks.

Bayonne Fire Department helped rescue a kayaker in distress on May 2.

Weaver then thanked residents and businesses in the community for their various donations of food, proper protective equipment (PPE), among other things. In addition, Chief Weaver recalled a touching moment residents showed their support for first responders, including firefighters, during a recent COVID-19 call.

According to Chief Weaver, when first responders arrived on scene to tend to a COVID-19 in the area, neighbors next door from the call where outside to greet the frontline workers with their thanks. Weaver said the residents waved signs and gave thanks to responders as they tended to the call.

New protocols enacted

During his speech, Chief Weaver also touched on some new policies implemented by the Bayonne Fire Department as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Weaver credited the Bayonne Fire Department for setting up and maintaining a supply chain of medical materials and PPE that has helped firefighters properly respond to the influx of COVID-19 EMS calls.

Additionally, a cleaning program has been established to sanitize Fire Department facilities and some city-owned buildings.

Chief Weaver echoed Mayor Davis, saying that the curve appears to be flattening in Bayonne. However, he cautioned residents to remain extra careful to prevents problems from piling up during the pandemic.

Displaced residents’ stress would be compounded during these uncertain times, according to Chief Weaver. Residents are advised to always have smoke alarms in their residence, as well as two routes of escape.

“Let’s make every effort to prevent fires during crisis,” Chief Weaver said, acknowledging that a property damaged in a multiple alarm fire faces costs of up to $500,000 at the minimum, not to mention the human toll on families and children.

Chief Weaver iterated that, having survived 9/11, the Great Recession and SuperStorm Sandy, city firefighters have risen to challenge and faced it head on

“We will look back at how we were all in this together and got the job done,” Weaver said. “Please continue to stay safe, we are Bayonne strong.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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