CHDS alumni exchange strategies after COVID-19 webinar

Following the second NPS-CHDS Weekly Alumni & Student COVID-19 Webinar on March 26, alumna Brenda Heck reached out to the network to follow up on the symptom evaluation protocols discussed by panelists Richard Blatus, FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief of Operations, and Cynthia Renaud, Chief of Santa Monica Police Department.

Brenda, an NPS-CHDS master’s alumna (0803/0804) and Head of Security Operations for Standard Industries, wanted to know more about the processes being used to effectively screen departmental employees returning from COVID-19 quarantine. “I was able to connect with the Chiefs from Santa Monica PD and NYFD to obtain more information about their implementation of a symptom checker for all of their employees,” Heck noted. Standard Industries is an industrial company that specializes in building products, with a global footprint and over 15,000 employees. Heck is a former FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Counterterrorism Operations, but in her current role, she is developing employee re-emergence strategies and wanted to learn more about the symptom screening processes discussed in the webinar. After sending a quick message to Heather Issvoran, CHDS Director of Strategic Communications, she was able to get in contact with Blatus and Renaud directly.

Blatus, also a NPS-CHDS master’s alumnus (0701/0702), described the process being employed by FDNY, which includes a daily five-question survey that members access through a secure website. The questions are Yes or No, and any Yes answer prompts members to immediately call the medical division for further evaluation. FDNY is following the CDC guidelines and quarantined members are also monitored by the health bureau. This survey has been shared many times over with our local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal alumni when agencies were looking for a simple solution to screen their employees.

As shared by Chief Renaud, NPS-CHDS master’s alumna (0901/0902), the Santa Monica Police Department is using something similar to FDNY’s symptom screening model after Renaud learned about it from the first COVID-19 Webinar on March 19. “We added one question, had ISD create an easy QR code so our folks can scan it on their cell phone on the way into work, and posted flyers with that QR code everywhere throughout the building.” This process is likely more effective and projects a better message than the city’s original plan that called for a designated area outside the public safety building with someone in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) doing temperature screenings, when temperature alone is not indicative of the virus. “I think it also encourages them to self-monitor, along with showing them we are doing what we can to protect them without driving them crazy,” Renaud noted.

Heck was grateful for the opportunity to exchange ideas with her fellow alumni as she tackles how to keep the workspace safe for her employees as they re-emerge from quarantine. “We implemented a similar process after our conversations which has been well received by our employees,” she shared. “Our goal is to do everything we can to make sure our employees are safe as we are an essential business and trying to keep our facilities open.” She also thanked the CHDS network for providing such valuable input. The CHDS Alumni Network has been a source for hundreds of decision-makers to crowdsource emerging issues and collaborate in real-time to keep their communities safer.

The next NPS-CHDS Weekly Alumni & Student COVID-19 Webinar is scheduled for April 16 at 0900 PST. For more information, visit the Alumni Forum or contact Heather Issvoran.