The Summerland Fire Department is taking extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Summerland Review file photo)

Lack of concern about COVID-19 observed in Summerland

Emergency workers, staff and council urge public to follow provincial directives

Summerland fire chief Glenn Noble is disturbed by what he sees as a lack of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic in the community.

“We’re starting to get very frustrated with the general public’s lack of care,” he said, adding that he has noticed people out in the community, despite repeated calls to stay at home.

In addition, he said the fire department has been called to some vehicle accidents late at night, and he wonders why the motorists were out driving instead of remaining at home.

For firefighters, the pandemic has meant some significant changes to procedures.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s latest COVID-19 modelling shows restrictions flattening curve

READ ALSO: ‘Not a sprint, a marathon’: As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts slow, deaths climb

The weekly Wednesday evening training sessions have all been cancelled, and while crews continue to respond to calls, the process is more complicated and requires more work than in the past.

Noble said firefighters wipe down and disinfect their trucks, gear and protective clothing every time they return to the fire hall.

The preparation work began more than six weeks ago, when firefighters began shutting down operations in order to prepare for the pandemic.

“We’re taking this thing super seriously,” he said.

Anthony Haddad, Summerland’s chief administrative officer, said he and others on municipal staff are also noticing a lax attitude during this pandemic.

“We’re seeing a lot of people out and about, which is unfortunate,” he said. “The better everyone behaves themselves now the less time we’re going to be in this position.”

Summerland mayor Toni Boot said some in the community were contacting her during the Easter weekend to raise concerns about people camping near the Trappers’ Flats area, just west of Summerland.

She said all levels of government are repeating the message to stay home and practice physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re doing what we can in terms of enforcing the directives from the province,” she said, “but there’s only so much we can do.”

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