Rockton EMT Staff Cuts in Half

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

It's been three months since Debbie Mayer gave birth to her daughter Erin Kennedy. But since she was born 12-weeks early, little Erin Kennedy remains at Rockford Memorial Hospital. It should be a happy holiday season for the Mayer's, their micro-preemie baby will be coming home in just a few weeks.

"She's gonna be on monitors and if something happened it would be nice to have service real close rather than 20 minutes. 20 minutes might be too late for a newborn," says father Cory Mayer.

The Mayer's live just a few blocks away from the Rockton Fire Protection District. So when Debbie went into labor with six-year-old Carly, paramedics were there in no time.

But things could soon change now that Rockton Fire will lose half its EMT staff. That's because OSF Saint Anthony Hospital says its' terminating its' contract with Rockton Fire in 90 days. A major concern for some.

"Response times would be greatly effected especially here if there's medical emergency. Response times for them to get there," says former Rockton volunteer firefighter Dan Defendi.

But Rockton Fire's president says residents have nothing to worry about.

"I want to ensure the people that this little thing here is not going to effect their ambulance service in the Rockton Fire Protection District in anyway," says William Campbell, the President of the Rockton Fire Protection District.

Campbell says Rockton Fire is looking into pursuing other contracts. And families like the Mayers should not experience any lack in their service.

Campbell wouldn't say how much the Rockton Fire Protection District is paying OSF Saint Anthony for its paramedics. Or why their services are no longer needed. Now if Rockton Fire has a hard time hiring other paramedics, OSF Saint Anthony says it will continue to supply them on a monthly basis.

Four Rockton Fire EMT's are employed through OSF Saint Anthony and four others work directly for Rockton Fire. Fire officials say they have yet to discuss the details with OSF Saint Anthony.


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