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Warren Township residents text in comments

Trustees will make adjustments to improve system

WARREN TOWNSHIP — For the first time, trustees livestreamed their regular monthly meeting on a newly created social media page with residents able to view and text in questions and comments.

To comply with Gov. Mike Dewine’s orders to have as few people at public meetings as possible during the coronavirus outbreak, only the three trustees, two department heads and two firefighters attended the session.

Various government agencies are closing their meetings and making other arrangements such as livestreaming or videotaping, so the public can watch online.

Fire Lt. Greg Wrightsman taped the Tuesday meeting and also let trustees know when he received a text message from a number publicized on its Facebook page.

Trustee Kay Anderson said trustees were aware some adjustments would need to be made to allow the public to view and participate.

“This is the first time we have ever done this, so we will see how it works. If the situation with the coronavirus does not change, we will continue holding meetings this way,” she said.

While six residents text in questions, mostly about road and water project status, they also asked if the safety forces were OK in the current situation.

Fire Chief Randy Daniels said extra precautions are in place for the fire department, including moving squads to one fire station and having the stations thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. He said one vehicle will be used only as a backup if one of the other squads is lost because of contamination issues.

Daniels said all the fire and police departments are part of the emergency plan in place for the county by the Emergency Management Agency operation center.

“We are all trying to stay ahead of this and have a plan in place. We have purchased the needed items,” Daniels said.

He said all safety gowns, masks, gloves, sanitizers and personal protective equipment are in place.

Daniels said turning the fire station off North River Road into a training center almost is completed but noted state scheduled trainings planned there are being postponed because of the COVID-19 travel ban.

“We will get them rescheduled when we have new foresight of when this situation will end,” he said.

Wrightsman also said the new Facebook page is to keep the public informed.

Daniels said one item on the page is to inform township businesses and homeowners experiening an alarm drop to have a lock box where the fire and police departments can have access and turn off the alarm instead of having to contact someone at the business or home to come there and reset the alarm as it is done now.

“If we can get into the box and get the key, we can go in and turn the alarm off. This is especially helpful after hours,” Daniels said.

He said there the new method would cut costs.

Police Chief Ben Harrell said although people are offering to bring safety forces food, he advises residents not to do so and instead remain at home as ordered by DeWine.

Trustee Ryan Yoho said everyone is trying to be safe by staying at home.

Trustee said the township buildings are closed, and anyone needing police or fire is asked to call or email them.

“We are doing what we can to keep the public informed and also safe,” Yoho said.

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