Decatur first responders talk response, safety and utilities in Friday briefing

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DECATUR, Ala. – Representatives from Decatur Police, Fire and Rescue, and Utilities gathered Friday to update the community on their response to COVID-19. Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen spoke on their response to large gatherings, Decatur Fire and Rescue Division Chief Tracy Thornton updated us on new practices, and Decatur Utilities representative Ray Harden spoke about a halt in disconnections.


Chief Nate Allen says his department is responding to calls about large gathers. They want to be alerted when there is a group not practicing social distancing. Allen says they will first give a verbal warning to break up the gathering and if that doesn’t work, they will issue a citation.

Fire and Rescue

Division Chief Tracy Thornton says they are still responding to calls as they always have. He said that the primary medical personnel on a call will look a little different as they will wear a gown, mask, safety eye glasses and gloves. Thornton also mentioned they are cleaning and sanitizing the vehicles between each call.


Ray Hardin with Decatur Utilities reiterated that the utility company has indefinitely delayed disconnections for utility customers. That being said, Hardin did remind everyone that the money will eventually have to be paid back. He said it’s best for you to try to pay at least a portion of your bill on time so you will have less to catch up with when all this ends.

He also spoke about being sure to only flush toilet paper. He said anything else (paper towels, flushable wipes, cloth) will clog pipes and sewers.

Question and Answer Session

During the question and answer session, the first responders answered questions including the need for PPE, drive-in gatherings, and possible charges for anyone who may purposefully try to spread the COVID-19 illness.