Hand sanitizer, a precious commodity

In just a matter of weeks, hand sanitizer has become quite popular, disappearing from store shelves faster than it can be restocked. The rapid purchasing of hand sanitizer poses problems for first responders and others who have frequent, direct contact with the public.

Firefighters, police officers and EMS professionals use hand sanitizer regularly but the over-purchasing of the product by members of the public left them without any. Last week, their supply was replenished from an unlikely source – Boot Hill Distillery located in Dodge City. Due to COVID-19, the distillery has transitioned its efforts to making batches of hand sanitizer rather than their usual spirits.

“I went on their website and filled out a request form,” Joni Ringler, Convention and Visitors Bureau Director said. “They called and said it was available to pick up. We needed it badly so I happily made the trip to pick it up and dropped it off at the police department.”

According to a statement on the Boot Hill Distillery website, they distributed hand sanitizer during drive up events on Saturday and Sunday. Overall, they anticipate producing more than 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

City commissioners have made it clear a top priority the police department and the fire department is sanitizing during and between shifts. First responders share vehicles at shift changes and the city wants to do anything they can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among emergency responders.

“We have been for the last couple of weeks cleaning every patrol car and disinfecting it before a new officer comes on duty because we use the same car for three different shifts,” Mayor Tom Brown said during a special city commission meeting Wednesday. “We need to make sure we don’t pass things from shift to shift through the department. We are also taking temperatures at the start of shifts and so is the fire department.”

Walmart in McPherson also made a generous donation of cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to the McPherson Police Department to help with their efforts, last week.