Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The soon-to-open Harwood Heights Municipal Consolidated Dispatch Center is drawing interest, but it is facing competition, too.

The Norwood Park Fire Protection District Board is weighing a proposal to join the Harwood Heights 911 center when it opens at the end of August, but two other longer-established private services are under consideration as well.

Fire Chief Terrence Vavra confirmed last week that the department is weighing proposals from the Harwood Heights center, which is to open in that village’s police station, as well as from the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (RED Center), and the Norcomm 911 Consolidated Dispatch Center, both of which have been around for decades.

The Norwood Park Fire Department, at 7447 W. Lawrence Ave. in Harwood Heights, provides fire protection and emergency medical services to that village as well as Norridge and Norwood Park Township, running approximately 3,500 calls per year. The department is currently affiliated with the Village of Norridge, which is one of the partners, along with Schiller Park, and Harwood Heights, moving to the new consolidated center.

Vavra indicated that he is still going over the proposals from the three bidders and the issue is expected to be discussed at the fire district board’s next meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 17 at the Norwood Park Fire Station where costs and service are among the main considerations.

Harwood Heights Trustee Annette Brzezniak-Volpe, a member of the Joint Emergency Telephone System Board, which will govern the new center, spoke of the Norwood Park Fire District’s interest at the June 22 board meeting.

“The industry has a motto: Seconds save lives,” she said. “If our dispatchers get a call from a resident, and he has to transfer it over to Northbrook and the RED Center or to Leyden Township for Norcomm, it’s going to take time. They have to process the call, enter it into the system and dispatch the fire department (vehicle.)”

In addition, in the case of the Norwood Park Fire District, which is based in Harwood Heights, “all our local people pay taxes into this fire department,” she noted.

The municipal service is set up to provide a service and not turn a profit as the private 911 companies do, she said.