MASSENA — The meeting room at the Massena Town Hall has been turned into an Emergency Operations Center to address the current COVID-19 crisis.
Police Chief Adam J. Love, who is serving as EOC manager, said this situation is unlike the Emergency Operations Center they set up during the ice storm.
“This throws another element into it. It’s not one area, it’s worldwide,” he said.
Mayor Timmy J. Currier ordered the EOC to open at 11 a.m. Monday. More than 40 community partners joined them the first day.
The EOC is operational from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the hours subject to change. Its purpose is to facilitate and coordinate the community’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The priorities of the EOC, as directed by Mr. Currier and Supervisor Steven O’Shaughnessy, are overall management of the community’s response to COVID-19, public safety, public health and recovery from this crisis.
In addition to Chief Love, a management team is comprised of representatives from the village and town of Massena, public safety officials, and other vital agencies and representatives.
“What it means is that we’re working to stay ahead of this crisis. So people should not be alarmed by this. It should bring confidence to them that local government, public safety officials and community partners are working in cooperation with the county and state officials to ensure that this public health crisis is minimized,” Mr. Currier said.
He said the EOC was opened, in part, because of the public health crisis that they want to prevent from becoming a public safety crisis.
“Because of the potential for the length of this problem, it’s appropriate we bring people together and make sure were sharing accurate information,” as well as taking necessary precautions to protect the community.
Meetings are held daily. While some of the team members are at the town hall, a large screen has been brought in to host video or audio Zoom meetings for others. The screen can also double as a whiteboard.
“If they can’t come in, they Zoom in. (The screen) does everything, from TV to Internet,” Chief Love said.
The Operations Management Committee includes representatives from the fire department, rescue squad and law enforcement, as well as Mr. Currier and Mr. O’Shaughnessy. Their theme is “Keeping Massena Safe.”
Management meetings begin at 10 a.m. daily.
“Usually the governor speaks at 11. We stay here and watch,” Chief Love said.
He said they want to ensure everyone is sharing the same message to make sure correct information is getting out and misinformation is stymied.
Information is released to www.massenapd.com, the village of Massena Facebook page (Village of Massena), the village’s Twitter account (@VillageMassena), their Instagram account (Village of Massena), and Northern New York Newspapers and 1340 WMSA Radio. Social media is updated daily.
“We want to make sure it’s clear, concise and the same message. We want the same message pushed out at all times so everybody is on the same page,” Chief Love said.
“With the COVID-19 crisis, we are facing uncertain times. Although we truly don’t know what the future will bring, we do know, that if we take some careful, thoughtful and initiate appropriate precautions now, we can reduce the dangers we will face going forward,” Mr. Currier said.
“In my 32 years of public service to this community I have watched the residents of this community handle every single challenge thrown at them. Massena and north country residents are team players, who come together in times like this, to help and care for one another. I urge you all to heed the advice of those trusted sources, stay calm, stay safe and we will continue to take care of and assist each other through this COVID-19 crisis as well,” he said.
“Thanks to Massena Police Chief Adam Love and others who provide necessary services to our community, the EOC provides another level of safety, disseminating necessary information to the public,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.
More information is available from “trusted sources” at the Centers for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html), the state Health Department (https://www.health.ny.gov/) and the governor, who holds a live press conference at 11 a.m. daily. His page can be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/.