Download PDF version

The City of Orlando continues to take serious actions and a number of measures to suppress the spread of COVID-19 within the community, working together with lead agencies Orange County and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, to ensure a coordinated response.

Some of these measures include: 

  • Visiting continuity of operation plans to ensure essential city services can be managed and delivered remotely. 
  • Working on plans to allow those employees who can work from home to be able to do so, reducing the core number of city employees needed at each city facility.
  • Enhancing the ability for residents to request city services or interact with city government remotely, so as to limit their need to visit City Hall or other city facilities. 
  • Limiting in-person meetings and encouraging employees to use phone or video conferencing technology as often as possible. 
  • Temporarily closing public facilities, including city neighborhood, community, and recreation centers across the City of Orlando. 

operational changes

More details on these actions include:

  • City Support for Businesses/Residents

To prevent residents from having to visit city facilities and to aid residents and businesses financially during this difficult time, the city will be suspending fees for late payments of parking citations and red-light running fines that are incurred beginning Wednesday, March 18 and at least through the end of the March. 

The city will also be returning city park fees or other city fees for canceled activities and events at city facilities.

  • City Operations

The following operational changes will be effective Wednesday, March 18, through the end of March, or until further notice. 

  • City Hall & City Facilities

Essential city services will continue, but in-person meetings are strongly discouraged at this time. Please encourage residents and businesses to use the city’s digital services or request city services by phone.

All neighborhood, community, and recreation centers will close to the public at the close of business, Friday, March 20, through at least the end of March.

  • City Programs and Events

All youth and adult sporting activities and programs are suspended effective immediately until further notice. 

Beginning at close of business Friday, March 20, all neighborhood, community, and recreation centers will close to the public. A limited number of community centers will remain open to provide limited services like meal service to ensure they support the most vulnerable community only with appropriate social distancing. 

The City of Orlando is following direction from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is advising against gatherings of 50 people or more. 

  • City Services

The city’s primary goal remains keeping residents and employees safe, while ensuring that there is no interruption in critical municipal services, like police and fire. At this time, in-person visits or public service counter assistance (including licensing and building permits) is operational. They encourage citizens seek assistance via phone, online, or through email when possible. Permit submissions are encouraged to be done online. 

Building inspection services will continue. The City of Orlando Police Department’s Business Desk at Police Headquarters will remain open, though the city encourages everyone to call the number for non-emergency police assistance and general information.

All Public Works services will remain in place, including refuse collection and street sweeping will follow the usual schedule.

  • Elections

The March 2020 Presidential Preference Primary in the City of Orlando will continue as scheduled with additional sanitation procedures in place. Election Day is Tuesday, March 17th from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. 

  • Utilities

Orlando Utilities Commission and TECO Peoples Gas have suspended the disconnection of water and wastewater services for non-payment.

  • Giving & Receiving Assistance 

Heart of Florida United Way 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line is connecting with residents to share information about available resources in the community including locations of nearest food pantries, crisis mental health services, and more. The service is provided 24/7, 365 days a year. Translation services are available around the clock.

  • Second Harvest Food Bank

The best way to connect those in need to locations in their local community that are distributing food is through the Second Harvest Food Bank’s online food finder tool on their website. 

People who want to help and donate food can do this online by starting a virtual food drive. Physical food drives are discouraged at this time to protect the safety of the food chain.

  • One Blood

Over the past week, because of fear about the coronavirus, blood centers throughout the country and here in Central Florida, are experiencing a significant drop in donations which is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished.

The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives. Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for patients at all times. 

The FDA has also confirmed that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.

  • Communications

They continue to update the City’s website dedicated to the city’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command
How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command

Drones give Incident Commanders an aerial view, increasing their situational awareness of fires and helping them to develop tactics to tackle them. Station Officer Lee Newman details how the technology was implemented by London Fire Brigade and the continued benefits. Identify external risks The Grenfell Tower fire has resulted in revisions to several operational procedures and the introduction of new equipment within the Brigade. A few months after the fire, the Brigade was tasked with setting up a trial to test the feasibility of having a drone capability to identify external risks and assess building stability at incidents, providing essential safety information that could facilitate ongoing internal firefighting operations. Implement the use of drones The Brigade implemented the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 Working with partners who had an existing drone capability, as well as drone experts, the Brigade began work to implement the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 as a trainer and reserve drone. In the summer of 2018, an Emergency Services bespoke course was run by Essex Police to train the Brigade’s team of drone pilots, who were all PfCO qualified within one week. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational. Working of the drones On its first day of being available for incidents, the team received an order to attend a 15-pump fire at a leisure center, which was under renovation. They were asked to confirm if there were cylinders on the roof of the building and immediately put the drone to use. The team flew and relayed the camera footage onto a large screen that was fitted into a van provided for the trial. The drone footage was able to identify, to the Incident Commander’s satisfaction, that the cylinders were actually rolls of asphalt due to be laid on the roof as part of the renovation. If the drone concept could have proven its use in one job, this was it. The information from the drone allowed the Incident Commander to decide not to make it ‘cylinders confirmed’ and saved a lot of unnecessary extra appliance movements. Applications of drone Since that first callout, the team has been to around 300 incidents of six pumps or more, including persons in the water, fires, and various missing people’s incidents both in London and into other counties, assisting police forces. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational Drone inventory The Brigade’s drone capability inventory includes a Matrice 300 with an H20T dual thermal and optical camera; a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with multi attachments; a Mavic Air 2 and a Yuneec 520. The Brigade also has a Teradek live streaming device and multiple tablets for receiving the streamed footage. The Brigade operates with two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs – plug-in hybrid SUVs – and has split the drone equipment into two, with one vehicle carrying the drone and batteries, and the other carrying all the support kit and ancillaries. Working in dark conditions The drones are permitted to fly up to 400 ft above ground level or higher in an emergency and can fly as fast as 50 mph. They also can act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance and shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions. 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service. The team is working closely with its blue light partners, including the: Metropolitan Police Service, several search and rescue teams, and a host of fire services surrounding the capital, as well as giving advice to other upcoming drone teams around the UK. Use of drone in future The Brigade’s drone capability has been molded to how it sees the future and what it holds in the way of drone use. For example, the Brigade has developed a capability to drop water rescue aides to people at water incidents, which helps to keep them afloat long enough to be rescued. The drone can also be used alongside the swift water rescue teams to provide situational awareness of hazards and the resulting risks during the rescue phase. Delivering fire escape tools The Brigade also invested in fire escape hoods in late 2018 and has already demonstrated how one might be delivered via a drone to a balcony above the height of an aerial appliance while using the Mavic Enterprise 2 to relay instructions via the loudspeakers. These possible new uses are pushing the boundaries of the Brigade’s original concept and demonstrate how London Fire Brigade works to stay ahead of the curve. 

Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition
Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition

There is a long tradition of canines in the fire service, from Dalmatians riding shotgun in the fire truck to mixed breeds rescued from fires that later become the fire company mascot. The tradition has taken a hit recently in Chicago, where dogs are no longer allowed at firehouses after one station dog killed a smaller breed canine near a firehouse in the Englewood neighborhood. The incident The firehouse dog in Chicago, named Bones, was a mixed breed stray rescued off the street that was living at Engine 116 at 60th Street and Ashland Avenue. A neighbor was walking her smaller breed dog past the firehouse and watched in horror as Bones attacked and killed her small dog. After the incident, Chicago’s Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt issued a department memo: “Any and all prior permissions for dogs in the fire stations or on fire apparatuses are hereby revoked … effective immediately.” Chicago Firehouse dogs Most of Chicago’s firehouse dogs are strays that were picked up and brought to firefighters by the public. Fire crews and paramedics care for the dogs, train them, feed them and get them inoculated and spayed or neutered, then ask formal permission to keep the dogs on site. Historically, permission has been granted, in effect saving the dogs from being euthanized. Breed of choice The tradition of dogs and the fire service goes back centuries, to the 1700s, when carriage dogs first trotted alongside horse-drawn fire carriages. Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses, and grace under pressure. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) began utilizing Dalmatians as early as the 1870s. Dalmatians as firehouse ambassadors When motorized vehicles came on the scene, Dalmatians were already associated with firefighters, who continued to keep them on-site as firehouse residents and mascots. Increasingly, Dalmatians and other dogs became public ambassadors for firehouses and were involved in public education about fire safety and emergency preparedness for school and community groups. For example, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian from Clarksville, Ark., was a character in her own set of children’s books about fire safety and traveled around the country teaching children about fire tips. reduce stress, provide comfort Currently, firehouse dogs are other breeds, too, many rescued from house fires or other tragedies. Firehouses often adopt dogs, who become symbols of resiliency, bravery, fortitude – and provide comfort and companionship for firefighters who face high levels of stress on the job. After the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, N.Y., gifted the FDNY Ladder 20 company a Dalmatian puppy, appropriately named Twenty. The dog served as a source of comfort to the firefighters, who lost seven members of the company in 9/11. Dogs recognize signals Taken in as a stray in 1929, a dog named Nip served 10 years with New York’s Engine Company No. 203. During his service, the dog was injured by broken glass, falling debris, scalding burns, and bruises from falling off the fire engine. Nip could recognize all bells and signals. On fire scenes, Nip could alert firefighters if he knew something was wrong and sometimes run into burning buildings to look for victims. Unfortunately, Nip was killed by a hit-and-run driver in front of the firehouse in 1939 (and was stuffed by a taxidermist and displayed at the firehouse until 1974). Dogs promote fire safety Dogs promote fire safety outside the firehouse Dogs also promote fire safety outside the firehouse. For example, accelerant-sniffing dogs are trained to detect minute traces of accelerants that may be used to start a fire, according to the State Farm Arson Dog Program. The special bond between firefighters and dogs is the stuff of legend, despite the recent unfortunate events in Chicago – an ignoble scar on a long, colorful history of dogs in the fire service. Hopes remain that the decision can somehow be reversed, based on social media postings. “This is the first tragedy I have heard of in … 25 years,” said the administrator of the Firehouse Pups group.

What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?
What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?