Nurses needed at 911 call centers, says Rockford Fire Dept.

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — When you dial 911, the person on the other end has to quickly decide when to send first responders. The Rockford Fire Department says adding another pair of ears would help make those judgement calls. Who else better than a nurse?

“We’re really looking forward to have someone have that educational background and experience that maybe worked in an emergency room as a registered nurse to help us kind of gleam some of those calls off our typical call load,” Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said.

The idea is to save time and materials for true emergencies. Chief Bergsten says a trip to the emergency room isn’t always needed. He explained how it worked.

“As far as emergency medical dispatch and that call was found to be non-life threatening than the nurse would then get the call, and try to get more information from the patient. Do they need to see a primary care physician, could they go to immediate care clinic, or could they go to other some other type of medical treatment instead of using 911, being taken by an ambulance to the emergency room,” Chief Bergsten said.

The program is still in the early stages as the fire department hopes to have a nurse hired before the end of 2020.

The Rockford Fire Department would be the first in the state to have this type of program.

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