The Rockton Fire Protection District is located in northern Illinois on the banks of the Rock River. We have one fire station set within a community covering 54 square miles with an approximate population of 21,000 residents.
Established in 1947 as a strictly volunteer department the district then served 675 residents and answered fewer than 50 incidents. Today our organization provides multiple services including fire suppression, EMS advanced life support, rescue and extrication, fire prevention and education. Annually, we proudly answer an average of 1150 calls for service.
Historically, the area has had strong agricultural roots, but in recent years there has been a large influx of young families having employment outside of the area, making Rockton more of a residential community.
Our current roster includes 36 volunteers. Daily staffing at the station is comprised of a combination of part time paid EMT/Firefighters (3 individuals each working 30 hours per week), paramedics from a contracted staffing agency and paid-on-premises personnel. During the daytime there are 2 paramedics and at least 3 EMT/Firefighters on premises. Nighttime and weekends there is a paramedic and a EMT/Firefighter on premises. We also employ an administrative assistant and a chief.
In our primary response area the fire district provides superior service to 3 schools, 7 churches, several strip malls, multiple industrial plants, and an independent living senior citizen facility, an extended care living facility, a group home for the handicapped, several recreational parks, golf courses, and many single and multi-family dwellings. Schools consist of a major high school with 2,384 students and staff, a junior high school with 645 students and staff, a grade school with a total of 608 students and staff, and an elementary school with 564 students and staff. There are several critical infrastructure exposures within the primary response area. Our community is home to a newly located chemical manufacturer that produces a variety of lubrication products in a facility covering 177 acres with over 360,000 square feet under roof.
Within the community are 12 miles of railroad track, with much of the line running through the most densely populated area. Three trains per day traverse this line carrying a wide variety of commodities, industrial products and hazardous materials. Outside the major population center the fire district is mostly rural with much of the land being used for livestock and food production making protection against agri-terrorism a priority.
In our secondary response area the fire district provides mutual aid to several agencies in surrounding communities located in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Critical infrastructure within our mutual aid response area is the Byron Nuclear Power facility, and the Chicago/Rockford International Airport. High air traffic volume exist at the airport predominantly due to the location of the UPS hub there. In the Wisconsin portion of our mutual aid area critical infrastructure includes an Alliant Energy generating plant supporting the regional power grid with capacity of 2,345 MW, a 20 inch gas pipeline owned by ANR, as well as a major food manufacturing plants operated by Frito Lay, Hormel, Kerry Ingredients and Genecor International.