Community Update: Fire Department Reaccreditation Affirms Commitment to Community Health, Alexander Field Prepares for Increased Economic Opportunities

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Fire Department Re-accreditation Affirms Commitment to Community Health

I was proud to receive news from outgoing Chief David Kerkman that our Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department has reaffirmed its commitment to the health, safety and well being of our community.

WRFD recently earned reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services  for its compliance with national standards of excellence. WRFD was the first ambulance service to be accredited in the State of Wisconsin and is just one of two fire departments in the State of Wisconsin to successfully complete this voluntary review process.

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File photo submitted by the Fire Department.

To successfully meet these standards, WRFD had to complete a comprehensive application and on-site review by national experts in emergency medical services (EMS). Nationwide, only some 180 ambulance services in the country qualified for this accreditation.

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services is a non-profit organization that was established to encourage and promote quality patient care in America’s standard medical transportation system. This mission is realized by establishing standards that address not only the delivery of patient care, but also the ambulance service’s total operation, and its relationship with other agencies, the general public and the medical community.

Each staff member of the WRFD deserves praise for contributing to this recognition. Having accredited EMS capability demonstrates a commitment to excellence that affirms the status of the Wisconsin Rapids area as a desirable community in which to live, work and play.

Alexander Field Prepares for Increased Economic Opportunities

With the emergence of Sand Valley Golf Resort as a major destination and the promise of our City’s revitalization efforts, the South Wood County Airport Commission, of which I am proud to Chair, continues to take steps to enable Alexander Field to meet the needs of an expanding regional, national and even international user base.

A fueling truck was purchased by the airport making it more attractive to pilots to refuel their aircraft in Wisconsin Rapids.

For example, the Commission approved in December of 2016 the purchase of a 3,000-gallon-capacity fueling truck, which was delivered on May 20. This fueling truck enhances our services to more aircraft who cannot access our stationary fueling facilities; improves safety; and offers staff and aircraft operators more landing, taxiing and parking flexibility.

Features include three separate fueling hoses, which allow separate planes to be fueled at the same time, or for two separate tanks on the same plane to be fueled simultaneously. A state-of-the-art water monitor filtration system helps to assure that clean fuel is being delivered to the aircraft.

A view from the back of the truck showing a closer view of the levers and hoses used in the fueling process.

Offering aircraft operators a mobile fueling option upgrades the experience of traveling through our area. Making Alexander Field a more attractive refueling stop for aircraft operators will result in increased fuel sales and profits to further enhance the Airport.

From new equipment, to facility improvement grants from the State of Wisconsin, to active leadership engagement and collaboration, your South Wood County Airport Commission is working to ensure that Alexander Field provides services that go “above and beyond.”

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink
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Community Update – WR Fire Department and Riverview partner for Community Care Paramedicine program

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Community Update

WR Fire Department and Riverview partner for Community Care Paramedicine program

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From left: Joel Fetterer – Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department; Lisa Rowe-Peplinski – VP of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Aspirus; Zach Vruwink – Mayor, Wisconsin Rapids; Quinn Pixler – Case Manager Coordinator, Riverview Medical Center; Scott Young – Deputy Chief, WRFD; Peggy Ose – Interim Chief Operations Officer, RMC; Justin Pluess – Fire Fighter/Paramedic, WRFD; and Aaron Mancl – EMT, WRFD. Not pictured: Dave Kerkman– Chief, WRFD, Andy Metcalf – President/CEO, Riverview Health Foundation.

Earlier this year, I emphasized the importance of building a healthier community and the many forms that can take. I’m proud to acknowledge an effort between two of our city’s important institutions teaming up on a dynamic and creative approach to improve the health and wellness of our residents.

After a year of researching the successful results of community-based health care, the city of Wisconsin Rapids’ Fire Department (WRFD), in partnership with Riverview Hospital Association, launched on May 11 Community Care Paramedicine (CCP). This pilot program delivers an organized system of health care follow-up and preventive care services, to meet the specific needs of two patient groups:

  • Patients identified in the Riverview Hospital or Family Clinic as high risk for re-admittance or ongoing medical care; and
  • Patients who frequently use emergency medical services, 911 and/or the emergency room as a form of primary care.

Through CCP, WRFD and Riverview Hospital will identify eligible patients, who will be assigned a case manager to explain the benefits of the program. If a patient agrees to enroll, a WFRD community health care paramedic will schedule a home visit to review medications, activities, equipment, home safety and additional local services that may be required. CCP is strictly voluntary and is provided at no cost to the patient.

CCP provides a WIN-WIN-WIN for a healthier community, by:

  1. Strengthening our ability to recognize and target early on chronic diseases such as obstructive lung disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes and cancer;
  2. Directing patients to appropriate services to alleviate and prevent long-term diseases; and
  3. Decreasing the cost of, and burden on, community emergency care services.

CCP delivers new and improved preventive health care benefits, thus building upon the WRFD’s decades-long capabilities in preventive safety.

Having been adopted by a handful of cities across the nation, CCP represents the wave of the future in community-based care. Wisconsin Rapids is among the first in Wisconsin to launch the program; after the pilot is evaluated on its metrics and with hopeful success, we will consider continuing the program on a permanent basis. Ultimately, our vision, a healthier Wisconsin Rapids, will be achieved in part through a targeted approach with our most frequent EMS services users. I look forward to sharing an update on this program in the future.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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