A recent article outlines a possible move to close the emergency dispatch center maintained by the Lemont Fire Protection District.

Lemont’s emergency fire and medical dispatchers received notice that their services might be contracted out to an outside provider. The Lemont Fire Protection District Board of Trustees will consider the move Dec. 19. Lemont emergency fire and medical calls could soon be routed through a center in Orland Park, as the Lemont Fire Protection District mulls outsourcing the service to compensate for lacking funds.

Fire dispatch employees last week received email notification of the potential change, which would eliminate their positions and shift the work to an Orland facility.

“We lost a decent amount of cash-flow to support our dispatchers,” said Fire Chief George Rimbo, of why they began researching the outsourcing. “We lost the revenue.”

Rimbo examined three options—Orland Central Dispatch, keeping the services in-house, and a third confidential party. At a cost of roughly $116 per call with in-house services, contracting the work through Orland Central could reduce the cost to $39 per call—an estimated annual savings of roughly $233,000, said Rimbo.

If the board approves contracting through the Orland Call Center, Rimbo expects to see call response time improve. Current dispatchers route vehicles based on proximity to one of the district’s four fire stations. Advanced real-time tracking technology used by Orland Central locates ambulances and fire trucks, and reroutes the nearest vehicle to an emergency, Rimbo said.

Orland Central is one of two fire/EMS/rescue dispatch centers in the state, and serves as back-up to the primary statewide MABAS Communication System operated out of Red Center in Northbrook. In 2012, the center’s 11 full-time and 8 part-time staff fielded 19,000 calls across the Orland Fire Protection District and the two additional contracted communities of Oak Forest and Calumet City.

Currently, nine dispatchers—3 full-time and 6 part-time—operate out of Fire Station 1 in Lemont. The district fields roughly 3,000 calls per year

The board of commissioners will consider the move Thursday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m., at Fire Station 1, 15900 New Ave., in Lemont.

thanks Dan