Spearheaded by the leadership efforts of newly elected chief, Brian DeKind, the Antioch Rescue Squad has worked diligently to implement a wide array of changes to its policies and procedures.
The Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS) continues to put positive measures in place as part of its mission to foster open communication, establish accountability and restore community trust. As part of the squad's efforts to address concerns outlined by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding its past conduct, the ARS submitted its first report to the IDPH detailing steps the squad has taken to implement new policies and procedures outlined in its plan of correction.
Spearheaded by the leadership efforts of newly elected chief, Brian DeKind, the Antioch Rescue Squad has worked diligently to implement a wide array of changes to its policies and procedures. "It is vitally important to demonstrate to the IDPH that we are going above and beyond their mandates to address their concerns and proactively implement changes that are in the best interest of Antioch community residents," said DeKind. "For more than 70 years, the volunteers at the ARS have served the residents of Antioch with great pride. We want the members of our community to know that we are taking the needed steps to correct past concerns, and we are intent on earning and restoring the community's trust and confidence in our organization."
One of the most important changes implemented by the ARS involves the structure of its Board of Directors, which includes four independent directors in addition to four squad members for the first time in the organization's history. Elected on January 7, the new rescue squad board includes the following members: Chief Brian DeKind, Deputy Chief Rich Vanderwerker, Assistant Chief Joe Sherman, Assistant Chief Colin Spude, President Todd Thommes, Treasurer Linda Hensgen, Secretary Mike Wagner and Board Member Ross Harris. In the event of a tie vote, tie-breaking privileges are granted to the president, an independent director.
To address concerns regarding unauthorized use of medications and supplies, the rescue squad has installed permanent secure medication lockers in each ambulance. A log of narcotic usage for patients is required for each ambulance and tracked on a daily basis. The ARS has also purchased a sophisticated inventory barcoding system to track all medication and IV supplies. The system is currently being installed, along with a video monitoring system that includes cameras mounted and wired throughout the station and configured to a state-of-the-art software system.
Several policies have been adapted to address safe storage and inventory of medication and IV supplies, proper conduct, as well as professional and ethical patient care. As part of its new policy, the ARS has been conducting unannounced random drug screenings of members. All new policies and updates are available to volunteers and members of the ARS' Board of Directors at the station and online via the squad's new members-only website.
To further address policy concerns, the ARS has been working with McGrath Consulting Group, a third-party consulting firm contracted to review current policies and provide recommended changes. McGrath has completed a draft of the squad's new volunteer policy manual. Chief DeKind and the squad's board of directors will meet with McGrath in February to finalize the manual.
Other positive changes that have been enacted by the ARS aim to enhance credibility and effectiveness. The squad now maintains comprehensive personnel files for every member and has provided all volunteers with uniforms to wear while on duty. When responding to a call, if a volunteer is not in uniform, he or she is required to wear a photo-identification card that has been issued by the squad.
The ARS is also actively working to bring new talent onboard to effectively service the growing needs of the Antioch community. The squad recently filled three field supervisor positions with paramedics recruited, hired and supervised by Kurtz Paramedic Services. Since they joined the squad, a field supervisor has been present at every call for EMS service. The new field supervisors include Mark Jones, Rich Maatta and Joseph Sparks. Mark Jones is a Fire Battalion Chief at Stone Park Fire Department with 24 years of experience in fire/EMS service. Rich Maatta has hospital/ER experience and has been a paramedic/firefighter for 18 years, currently serving with the Lake Villa Fire Department. Joseph Sparks has been involved in EMS for the past 10 years as an EMT/paramedic/CC-EMT-P and served as a Station Manager for a private ambulance company.
About the Antioch Rescue Squad:
The Antioch Rescue Squad serves as the sole provider of 911 ambulance service to the community of Antioch, Ill. Since 1940, the organization has derived its operating budget from donations and memorials and continues to purchase all of its own equipment, vehicles and supplies. Volunteers of the Antioch Rescue Squad are committed to providing superior emergency medical services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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