Posts Tagged Fire Chief Derek Bergsten

Rockford Fire Department news

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A $1.6 million flip-flop has restored a Rockford firehouse turned vehicle repair shop back to Fire Station No. 7, and could improve response times to fire and medical emergencies.

The Rockford Fire Department facility, located at 2323 Sawyer Road on the city’s southeast side, operated as a fire station from 1978 until 1991, when the department converted it into a fire vehicle repair shop. Firefighting operations shifted to 4979 Falcon Road under an agreement with the Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

It is hoped that restoring the Sawyer Road facility as a fire station and moving the repair shop to Falcon Road will help the department reduce how long it takes firefighters to get to emergency calls. Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said that for years the Falcon Road station exceeded the departmental response time goal of having 90 percent of all response times take less than 8 minutes, 12 seconds from a resident dialing 911 to the arrival of firefighters.

Station No. 7 houses Engine Company 7, Medic 7, and a hazardous materials response team. Last year, Engine 7 responded to 1,760 calls for service and Medic 7 responded to 1,105 calls for service.

The restored station will have a workout facility for firefighters, separate washrooms and showers for men and women and a computer-training area.

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Rockford Fire Department news

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There are two 911 call centers in Winnebago County, one for the county and one for the City of Rockford. 

The city and county continue to look at ways to be more efficient and collaborative, and one thing that is moving forward is consolidation of the two call centers. 

The fire department says it’s focused on technology first, and that could take as long as 18 months, but if the two centers combine, Fire Chief Derek Bergsten says it’s the citizens who benefit. 

“The biggest thing that citizens would have is they would have one answering point. They make one phone call, all the 911 calls come to one location, you don’t have to be transferred, it will be handled more efficiently and quickly, and then have less chance for errors,” said Bergsten.

Bergsten says there would still be the same number of dispatchers, so it’s not necessarily a cost-saving measure. 

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Rockford firefighters to visit chronic patients at home

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OSF Saint Anthony is teaming up with the Rockford Fire Department to start visiting sick patients, who are frequent visitors to the ER, at their homes. It’s called Mobile Integrated Care.

“We can tell them what [behavior] to change all we want in the hospital, but unless we can help them, and encourage them, and reduce some of these barriers, they’re not going to be able to make the changes [they need] and they might plunk themselves right back into the hospital,” said OSF’s Emergency Medical Services’ Director, Jane Pearson.

The program will start with 10 to 15 patients at a time. They’re focusing on the chronically ill, frail, elderly, or mobility-impaired.

“Perhaps they’re in the hospital with an acute illness but they have chronic medical problems,” said Pearson. “When they’re released home, they’re not always quite ready to assume all their daily care.”

Fire Chief Derek Bergsten hopes the initiative will reduce 911 calls, which cost the city about $21,000 last year.

“I think it’s going to prove a benefit to their overall health and decrease admissions … to the hospital,” said Bergsten.

A Rockford Fire Department paramedic or EMT, along with Pearson, will work hands-on to help the patients, from their diets to connecting them with social services.

“It’s essentially trying to find some way to try to give education, and services and support, and eliminate barriers for patients that are falling through the gaps,” said Pearson.

Other Rockford initiatives in home visits can be found HERE and HERE

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