Longwood FC continues to adapt to COVID-19 needs

EAST MARLBOROUGH  — To continue to provide vital services to the community, Longwood Fire Company has adapted to adverse conditions caused by the Coronavirus. 

“Our volunteers and career members are navigating this serious crisis,” said Chief A. J. McCarthy. “No doubt about it, COVID has had a negative financial impact on Longwood. Despite the obstacles, all of the members of Longwood want residents to know that if emergency assistance is needed, Longwood will respond.”

According to Matthew Eick, Longwood’s EMS Captain, Longwood suffered a loss of expected revenue as community events, including those at Longwood Gardens, were cancelled. Longwood is contracted to provide medical assistance if needed. Also, for three months, a decline in calls for ambulance assistance impacted billing revenue.

“As winter months proceed,” Eick said, “we’ll continue to feel these financial strains. We are proud that we didn’t decrease services offered to the community. We were able to avoid layoffs at the fire company. We are confident we will be available to answer calls for help during these unchartered times.”

Longwood began preliminary planning to respond for COVID when news of the virus was made public in early 2020. Internal planning increased as cases were reported in Chester County and throughout the United States.

“We closed the station to the public,” Eick said. “This was a difficult decision. We then cancelled all of our public CPR training and car seat inspections. These programs are a great service to the region, but we determined for the safety of our First Responders that the public programs had to be halted.”

Longwood also cancelled internal training and in-person meetings for members. The fire company implemented a daily health screening for all staff when they were working or responded to the station for calls. Longwood mandated mask wearing not just on calls but around the station.

“The next big hurdle,” Eick said, “was the limited availability of Personal Protective Equipment. A member of the Kennett Township Community, Marla Palmer, stepped up to the plate and suggested a PPE drive to the Kennett Township Leadership Team. This drive ran for a few weeks in the spring, the results were overwhelming and humbling. This drive led to many donations of masks, cleaning products, meals and snacks, and much more. These donations were used by Longwood Fire Company and distributed to Kennett Fire Company, Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company as well as the Police Departments of Kennett Square, East Marlborough, and Kennett Township. We cannot be more thankful to the residents of Kennett Township and the surrounding community for this support.”

The upcoming holiday season will present challenges to everyone in the community, Chief McCarthy said. “We’ve seen the cases increasing greatly in recent weeks. We remind everyone that the use of masks and social distancing will significantly decrease chances of exposure. During the holidays remember there are other unique ways to visit with family and limit the possibility of exposure. On behalf of Longwood Fire Company, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.”

Longwood Fire Company has served the communities of Kennett, East Marlborough, Pennsbury and Pocopson townships since 1921. Longwood Fire Company provides fire and rescue and emergency medical services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information see www.longwoodfireco.com.

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