ST. GEORGE — The Mesquite Fire Department is feeling the love from business and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic, and officials said they have been pleased to see how the community is coming together to help out each other as well.
Last week, the Fire Department received a donation from Primex Plastics that included face shields for first responders. According to the Primex website, the company is one of the largest plastic sheet producers in the country. They are headquartered in Richmond, Indiana, and have a plant in Mesquite.
Mesquite Fire Capt. Spencer Lewis told St. George News that someone on the city’s Fire Department saw a story posted by a local Primex employee about their company producing face shields for first responders at their headquarters in Indiana. The Fire Department employee called the worker about the shields and discovered Primex already had a shipment ready for Mesquite Fire.
The Primex factory in Indiana produced the face shields and then donated it to the Mesquite Fire Department.
“That was pretty big,” Lewis said, adding that it almost doubled the numbers of shields they have in stock.
“Face shields are one of those things that are reusable for multiple patients. As long as you don’t get them scratched, you can continue to decontaminate them with a cleaning process.”
Lewis said the donation makes it easier to supply other city departments that might need them, including the Police Department.
“Not that we were holding back before, but we were a little bit more stringent on how we gave them out.”
On top of the shield donation, the Fire Department has also received requests from community members hoping to help them out in some way, including cooking meals. While Lewis said the support has been overwhelming, unfortunately they cannot receive cooked meals. Mesquite Fire is trying hard to kindly say no to these requests because first responders are making efforts to limit interactions with others in the community unless absolutely necessary.
However, Lewis added that the community has also stepped up in other ways through this pandemic. A food drive in one of the local homeowners association communities brought in roughly 1,600 pounds of food, while the Salvation Army and other local groups came together to help out.
“I absolutely love it,” he said. “Being a resident of Mesquite you watch everybody help everybody else out. You really just see a community come together.”
When asked about how the cities first responders have adjusted to the new health regulations and the very fluid situation that is the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis said that the city had been preparing for a state of emergency.
He said it “didn’t feel like a tidal wave” and that they recognized it was coming early on and were able to work with other emergency management partners. However, it hasn’t been without challenges. Lewis said:
The hardest thing is that Mesquite is rural, whereas the city of Las Vegas has several hospitals and groups to reach out to. They have military bases right there, and we just don’t have those resources. We feel lucky and fortunate to partner with them on a lot of these things so that when we do need it, we can reach out to them.
The Mesquite Fire Department is taking the pandemic as a learning experience, he said, using it to prepare for the future.
“We’re already compiling a list of what we did right and what we didn’t quite hit the mark on on how to better prepare and on how to better navigate this situation in the future,” Lewis said. “I don’t think we’ll hit it out of the park next time because it won’t be the exact same, but we will be more prepared.”
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