AFMA COVID-19 task force helps keep Sun City West community safe

Optimal emergency operations continue

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Factual information on the coronavirus pandemic is a top priority for the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority officials and the continued emergency service to the Sun City West community.

An internal COVID-19 task force was formed by Authority leaders that is working closely with local public health and state agencies to coordinate information and response. A March 26 press release stated based on the guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and input from the AFMA medical director, the Authority is implementing plans to ensure the continuity of emergency operations.

“We recognized the significance of the situation and started very early (mid-February) by implementing an internal COVID-19 incident management team to prepare for the pandemic and the potential impact to our community. After we started to gather information on the rate of spread and how the disease progresses, we set objectives to protect the community and our personnel,” AFMA Deputy Chief Erik Kriwer stated in the press release. “We began meeting with community leaders and shared best practices to assist our residents in slowing the spread. I give a lot of credit to Recreation Centers of Sun City West and PORA in making the very difficult decision to close or minimize public interaction of their facilities early in an attempt to limit the spread. The early preparation allowed AFMA to create plans to ensure the continuity of its emergency operations.”

Authority officials stated this includes refreshed training on protective equipment, supple acquisition and management, patient assessment and treatment strategies and emergency staffing plans.

“We continue to communicate and coordinate with all levels of government, including federal, state, county and local to keep our community informed with the latest information regarding the pandemic,” AFMA Emergency Manager Kimberly Campbell stated in the press release.

Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should contact their physician for self-care instructions, according to AFMA officials. If symptoms are sever or continue to increase in severity, they should call 9-1-1.

AFMA Board Chairman David Wilson addressed social distancing and golf by email April 1.

“Given the new physical distancing guidelines, not just social distancing, playing golf is not recommended and something I have chosen to no longer participate in during this time,” he stated. “It’s best to keep our distance in order to keep friends and family safe, but check on your neighbors, especially those that are living alone or have medical conditions. We can’t gather in person for a bit, but even a 15-minute phone call or FaceTime session can help someone feel connected and loved. Together we will get through this and be stronger as a community because of it. Please take care of each other. Stay home and stay safe.”

In line with CDC guidelines, Authority officials temporarily suspended walk-in access to fire stations and administration facilities. The administration office can be reached at 623-544-5400 or by email at info@afma.az.gov.

Other contact information includes the Maricopa County COVID-19 hotline 844-42-8201, Arizona COVID-19 hotline 2-1-1 and senior help hotline 602-264-4357.

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