In an effort to increase efficiency and significantly reduce maintenance costs on behalf of Chicago taxpayers, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) announced the completion of the first full renovation of the City's 911 Operations Floor since the Chicago Police and Fire Departments' Dispatch Operations were consolidated under OEMC in 1995.
“Chicago’s new 911 system was designed with redundancy and enhanced service to residents in mind, and is expected to save the City over $1.6 million annually in maintenance fees,” said Gary Schenkel, Executive Director of OEMC. “In addition, the transition between the old and new systems during the upgrade was seamless, with no interruption in service – helping us in our mission to keep public safety in the forefront of operations.”
The OEMC 911 Operations Floor upgrade involved the retirement of an outdated answering platform for 911 calls, which had been in service since 1995, and was the only system of its kind still in existence. The new Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) software and hardware, radio system and voice logging system increase call answering efficiency while decreasing 911 equipment issues that occurred due to outdated computer consoles. Additionally, the state-of-the-art platform offers an enhanced reporting system, expands employee monitoring capabilities, and improves response time for court requests.
To ensure continuity, OEMC implemented a phased approach for the project, which allowed both the old and new systems to be fully staffed and supervised during the transition.
In addition, OEMC increased flexibility by redesigning the floor layout. The floor renovations provide additional workstation capacity, an ergonomic work environment and an enhanced Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that allows any position on the floor to be used for dispatching assistance in response to 911 calls.
The improved floor plan also replaced aged and worn 9-1-1 Operations workstations, vastly improving employee comfort, communications and flexibility, as well as promoting increased coordination between Fire and Police Dispatch Operations.
# # #
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications was established in 1995 to coordinate the City’s delivery of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services resources. OEMC operates Chicago’s public safety communications system, managing emergency situations and coordinating major events, 3-1-1 and 9-1-1 Communications Operations. OEMC is also the host to Notify Chicago, are source for residents to subscribe to receive text alerts related to traffic disruptions, severe weather, health and major incidents.For more information visit our website at www.cityofchicago.org/oemc or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook/coemc.