Loves Park Fire Chief Jerry Wiltfang gathers for a photo with Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury.


Loves Park Fire Chief making good progress with departmental services
By Margaret Downing
Loves Park Fire Chief Jerry Wiltfang came into that position in February of 2018. He brought with him 30 years of experience on Rockford’s fire department. Additionally, he grew up learning the business, as his dad was a volunteer firefighter.
The department has grown in the past year under Wiltfang and will shortly be at a full time staff of 15 firefighters. Also, there are about 30 “paid, on call” firefighters.
The 15 personnel, plus paramedics, work 24 hours “on” and 48 hours “off.” There are three shifts.
The city currently has two stations and hopes in the future to have another one in the eastern section of the city, which now extends into Boone County.
Station No. 1 at 400 Grand Ave. is where Wiltfang’s office is located. Station No. 2 is at Windsor and Clinton Roads. An ambulance is now located at Fire Station No. 2, which is a big help in medical cases, Wiltfang explained, as getting cases help quicker and getting them to a medical facility only help in saving lives. One example, per the January departmental report, as Wiltfang noted is, “We had five ‘code blue’ responses and delivered them all to the hospital breathing.”
Recently implemented emergency medical services (paramedics) who travel with the ambulance is now also paying off. A number of responses actually are to Mercycare Sportscore in the 8800 block of E. Riverside Blvd., as, for instance, one case in January dealt with a person who had been “working out” there.
Wiltfang explained recently that the department has now seen a big drop in response times, down to four to six minutes from 21 to 23 minutes on average. This is most definitely good news for the city.
The chief also noted that Loves Park residents do not pay property taxes so financing of the department has to come through what is called “an elastic tax,” which goes “up and down with the economy. “It is not constant.” Wiltfang said. Building permit fees and sales taxes help in financing.
The budget for the fire department has to cover replacement of equipment, and a quarter of a million dollars recently purchased items needed by fire department personnel.
About $100,000 was spent in 2018 and included turnout gear, boots, helmets, air masks and so on. It costs about $3,300 (excluding air masks) to equip a new firefighter and with air masks, about $6,600.
Currently, in Loves Park there is a population of approximately 25,000 residents.
Wiltfang has been instrumental in getting the department up to snuff over the past year. A timeline of sorts follows:
*March 5, 2018
Per (then Assistant Fire Chief) Wiltfang reported that he had been working with Chaplain Cory Whitford on Whitford’s future role with the department.
Wiltfang also noted that the department was in the process of putting “a fleet management program in place.”
*April 9
Per the monthly fire department report for March, submitted by Wiltfang, it was noted that the department continues to “move important projects ahead – many of which are associated with compliance and safety issues.” Wiltfang reported then that he is “seeing a lot of enthusiastic involvement from firefighters and particularly officers.”
Wiltfang also reported at the time that “Inspection of turnout gear is complete, roughly half of the department will require new bunker pants and coats. All personnel need new helmets, gloves, boots, and hoods. This will bring us up to OSHA/NFPA standards. The Firefighters Association has agreed to purchase an extractor and dryer to clean the new turnout gear for $14,700. At this time we plan on having it installed at Station No. 2.”
He also reported “The department continues to work with Mercyhealth to have all of our Engines registered with the State as non-transport BLS provider response units” and, “We met with the State Fire Marshal to reaffirm our relationship with that office. In the future they will be closely involved with cause and origin investigations, especially with difficult cases or suspected arsons.”
*June 11
In a packed city council meeting June 11, fellow firefighters and family members were on hand as Chief Wiltfang officially promoted five fire department members. The newly promoted firefighters were: Captain Jay Tucker, Captain Will Kubala, Lieutenant Ryan Evans, Lieutenant Brent Tullock, and Lieutenant Andrew Whittaker.
Wiltfang also gave thanks to area fire chiefs who participated in a grueling oral testing process with candidates.
In addition, Wiltfang submitted the departmental monthly report from May 1 through 31, in which the department responded to 46 calls for service. Details were as follows:
*Completing OSHA required SCBA Consumption Testing
*Promotional exam completed new officers assigned
*Officer development training completed in preparation for the promotional exam
*Firefighter training on air monitoring completed with the assistance of Captain Harold
Cubillo US Army (Ret),
*Audit completed of training records in collaboration with the Office of the State Fire
*Instituting a new system of tracking training (JPR)
*Orientation with the OSFM for the New Training Officer as part of the audit

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.