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As National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week continues, the City of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) took the opportunity to recognize the outstanding public safety efforts provided by 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers, traffic management personnel and others, to the city of Chicago and its residents at an awards ceremony this morning.
“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago, we are proud to commend those serving in an emergency management capacity - displaying extraordinary commitment and professionalism in what are often very challenging situations,” said Executive Director Gary W. Schenkel. “No matter what the role or circumstance, these police and fire communications operators, traffic control aides, technology and administrative staff and emergency management coordinators contribute to the overall operations and the important task of keeping residents of this city safe and secure. "
April is National 9-1-1 Education Month and the second full week of April is highlighted to acknowledge those working in the public safety communications field. This year, National Public Safety Communicators Week is designated for April 13 through April 19.
Chicago is home to the current "Dispatcher of the Year" for the State of Illinois, police communications operator Amy Lovell. Amy, an OEMC employee since 1998, is the first dispatcher from Chicago to be recognized for the award.
9-1-1 EMERGENCY OPERATIONS
Team efforts by Police Communication Operators (PCOs) Fire Communication Operators (FCOs), using their combined skills and desire to achieve positive results, routinely work in tandem with first responders to help save lives. However, during escalated events with mounting pressure and attention, the professionalism is demonstrated time and time again by dispatchers and call takers extremely chaotic and stressful conditions. Below are some examples of the work done by these remarkable employees recognized during the ceremony.
Last summer, five police communications operators (PCOs) worked as a seamless team to bring a chaotic event to a positive conclusion. Two Police dispatchers heard parts of an emergency transmission of “shots fired” emit from
somewhere within the 005 District. It was subsequently learned that officers had inadvertently found themselves caught in the crossfire of two groups of individuals who were shooting at each other. The 10-1 event was immediately simulcasted to the surrounding area. In addition, dispatchers for the adjacent zone began immediately sending assist units to the scene. One offender was placed into immediate custody, while numerous others fled the scene in alldifferent directions, prompting several foot chases, and a grid search of several surrounding blocks. A citywide dispatcher was instrumental in processing requests for outside assistance including the CPD Helicopter, Canine and Violence Reduction Initiative units. Weapons were recovered, numerous shell casings found, and another offender was apprehended during all of the commotion. Most importantly, no CPD members were hurt during the incident.
In conjunction with fire dispatchers who kept a caller on the line in during a precarious situation, first responders were able to better locate a victim struggling in the water and rescue the person. In another situation, an FCO did an exceptional job of dispatching an event involving a frantic mother’s efforts to help her child with disabilities who'd wandered onto the ice of Lake Michigan. The dispatcher was able to pinpoint the location of the mother and child b questioning the mother about landmarks around her. The FCO demonstrated the skill and knowledge to use her training to work in tangent with first responders to achieve a successful rescue.
While traffic control staff coordinate and facilitate traffic on a daily basis and for large scale events, they can also serve as a conduit to emergency services during unplanned events. In a situation involving gunshot victims seeking help, Traffic Management Authority personnel demonstrated leadership and responsibility for ensuring safety by calling for police and medical assistance, while maintaining control of the incident at the scene. In another incident, a TCA not only provided assistance to a woman who had fallen by calling for medical assistance, but also comforted her by protecting her privacy and shielding her from the hot July sun while waiting for the ambulance.
OEMC is proud of the commitment, dedication and contribution of these and other police, fire and emergency workers and appreciates their strong efforts to assist the public and fellow city personnel for a better quality of life in the City of Chicago.
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The Chicago 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. For more information visit our website at www.cityofchicago.org/oemc or “like” us on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/coemc .