Senator Hastings presents $610,000 state grant to Orland Fire to enhance regional 911 emergency system
Illinois Senator Michael Hastings joined officials of the Orland Fire Protection District on Thursday to announce the award of a $610,000 State Grant to enhance the district’s regional 911 emergency system and “save more lives.”
Fire Chief Michael Schofield and several Battalion Chiefs joined Fire District Trustee Craig Schmidt in welcoming Hastings explaining the grant funds will help speed up 911 emergency communications among 51 fire departments and districts through the new Orland Fire Protection District system.
The funds will be used to implement a new software system that will significantly reduce response time by ensuring emergency calls are received faster and more efficiently to the 51 participating fire departments and regions serving more than 100,000 residents, Schofield explained.
“I talked to Senator Hastings many months ago about this project that will not only decrease the amount of time getting outside agencies to any fire department but the bottom line it is going to save lives,” Schofield said praising the response efforts by all of the region’s fire departments and districts.
“For instance, if Orland Central has to call another dispatch center, whether it is Laraway or Southwest or somebody else, there is a time delay. We need an ambulance right away. We have to call them on the phone. They have to punch it into their computer system and it punches out a call. It is a four or five minute delay. This new system will be instantaneous.”
The new system that will be funded by the grant will connect five emergency communications centers’ disparate computer-aided dispatch systems permitting the sharing of real-time incident information, vehicle location and status information. This project will permit regional public safety interoperability and decrease mutual aid response times by automating the process of requesting, dispatching, and tracking fire and rescue resources providing mutual aid across jurisdictional boundaries in Cook and Will Counties.
Schofield thanks Hastings who attended the press briefing at the OFPD Headquarters at 9790 W. 151st Street.
“Senator Hastings was the one who stepped up and said he will find us the money and he did,” Schofield said.
Hastings thanked the Orland Fire Protection District for their service and their achievement as having one of the highest “Save Rates” in the Midwest.
“Chief Schofield told me about the interoperability of communications systems between the many departments,” said Hastings who spent time with the 911 dispatchers to understand the work that is required now to secure information and dispatch assets manually to emergency calls in the region.
“I want to thank the Orland Fire Protection District and all of the First Responders. I believe in the Orland Fire Protection District. I believe in them because of what they had to endure during COVID. I saw how many EMTs caught COVID. I saw how they had to respond to households of families that were afraid when they caught the disease. And the way they treated people in our community was nothing but first class.”
Deputy Chief Nick Cinquepalmi explained the grant will help ensure that different fire agencies will be able to more easily work with each other, more efficiently and faster and as a result. He said the “CAD to CAD” or Computer Aided Dispatch software system will link different agencies and emergency response units quickening the response time.
“A good example is that you could be on the border of Orland Park and Tinley Park and although those systems are a little bit different, when a 911 call comes in and is actually processed in the center. CAD to CAD will be able to see units in surrounding suburbs and pick up those units and the response time would be cut by minutes. Instantaneous,” Cinquepalmi explained saying that “inter-operabilty” needed to be improved to coordinate faster emergency responses among the 51 fire departments and districts.
“You are seeing this in other states throughout the country. In the Midwest region, the Orland Fire Protection District is the leader and we work very hard in stepping in the forefront of every technology piece we can get our hands on whether it be equipment, apparatus and in this case, 911 software.”
Schofield added, “The main objective here is saving lives. That is what we do in public safety. We are all about saving lives but in order to do that you have to get there quickly. If someone is not breathing, the extra 2 minutes or 3 minutes can make the difference between life and death.”
Schofield noted once implemented, the new software will be operated by the Orland Fire Protection District and will serve all of the 51 fire departments so that all residents in those districts will benefit from faster responses in emergencies.
Also attending the press conference were members of the OFPD Senior Advisory Council.
You can watch a video of the press conference at this link:
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