Rockford Fire receives accreditation for excellent emergency service

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The Rockford Fire Department is recognized for it’s excellent emergency service. The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, or CASS, gave the department the honor.

The accreditation was established by the EMS industry to promote quality in the ambulance industry. The Rockford Fire Department is one of only a few organizations in the entire state to receive the status.

“We’re only one of three agencies within the state of Illinois who has reached accredited status,” said Rockford Fire Division Chief of Training Bob Vertiz.

The CAAS accreditation is a rare accomplishment. To be accredited, the department’s entire emergency medical services is evaluated by more than 100 standards. But Rockford Fire says of that hundred, it’s most proud of meeting the clinical standards

“That’s tougher one,” said Vertiz. “There’s a lot of sub-categories within that one. It takes a lot of cooperation between our department, our resource hospital, just to make sure everything works and meshes together.”

Rockford Fire receives more than 28,000 calls annually. Mayor Tom McNamara says with such a heavy work load and still being recognized shows the department’s value.

“Our EMS calls continue to go up and up every year,” said McNamara. “To know they are responding with urgency, tremendous care and compassion to our citizens. I think it should make all Rockford citizens proud.”

The nearly 250 paramedics go through a rigorous 450 hours of classroom training and 500 hours of clinical and field internship training. McNamara says while the dedication and selflessness of the department is one thing, their desire for progress really makes it stand out.

“Every single day they’re working to, not only save our lives and our property, but they’re also working towards improving the processes they’ve done,” said McNamara.

Vertiz says that’s exactly why the department’s work isn’t done.

“We’re not just siting back on our laurels,” said Vertiz. “We’re making sure our medical program, our EMS program is moving along the way it should and that we’re fulfilling the needs of the community.”

The status lasts for three years and this is the second year the fire department was awarded the CAAS accreditation .

The department’s firefighter services is also accredited. It’s one of less than 10 dually accredited departments in the nation.

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