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City of Henderson makes fire evacuation ordinance

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The Henderson Mayor and Board of Aldermen met in regular session Thursday, Feb. 11. After hearing that the Henderson Fire Department has had concerns regarding failure of some to evacuate during fire alarms, the board put in place an ordinance that makes it an order to evacuate.
Problems include residents of Freed-Hardeman University dorms and Heritage Towers staying in their rooms during a fire alarm according to Henderson Fire Chief Greg Lipford.
“We want to know where they’re at instead of in their room. If we have to go searching every room and we have a big fire going, we’re limited. We don’t have very many firemen. And we go in there we going to have to them out and get them down the stair well or search rooms and put the fire on the burner until we get everybody out,” Lipford said.
Lipford also told the board that in the past they have had problems with FHU students ripping smoke detector heads off, but he said that it seems to no longer be an issue. It is just the situation of getting them out of their rooms during fire alarms.
Henderson Police Chief Gary Davidson commented about the need for the ordinance.
“We can’t do anything else unless we have the ordinance. When someone makes a decision that they’re going to stay in their room and take their life in their own hands that’s one thing, but they’re jeopardizing my people too. And his people. And we need this ordinance.”
The approved ordinance states that the tenant “will be charged a fine not to exceed $50 for each violation, in addition to court costs.”
The board approved of putting GPS locators on utility department vehicles. This was approved to help with response times and convenience. The example Utility Director Darryl Green uses is that if the department is aware of a utility vehicle that is already out at Bethel and another issue in that direction arises, they can have that individual respond to the situation instead of sending another utility worker out to that area.
The city approved of the hiring of a senior intern from Chester County High School for the maintenance shop. Intern, Trace Beaver, was hired to work two hours a day for $12 per hour. If suitable and everything goes well during the internship, the city will consider hiring him full time.
While waiting to see if the federal government extends the federal COVID-19 sick leave, the board also approved the extended COVID-19 sick leave of 80 hours to city employees who have not used it yet. It will expire the day of the May Henderson Board of Aldermen meeting.

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