Posts Tagged Northwest Central Dispatch System

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from the

The Northwest Central Dispatch System plans to go to court Friday to try to get the Cook County Department of Public Health to release information on confirmed COVID-19 patients in the Northwest suburbs. The anticipated filing of a temporary restraining order in Cook County circuit court follows an unsuccessful lobbying effort by the Arlington Heights-based dispatch system and elected officials in some of its 11 member communities.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle turned down the request, while a resolution to provide addresses of COVID-19 patients sponsored by six county board members was sent to committee Thursday. That resolution earned letters of support from mayors and village presidents in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and Wheeling.

Officials from the dispatch system, which answers 911 calls for police and fire departments in the Northwest suburbs, argue that having information on coronavirus patients would increase the safety precautions paramedics, police, and firefighters take before they arrive at emergency calls. Dispatchers planned to enter the information into their computer-aided dispatch system as premise warnings when sending police or fire to an address, but vowed to remove the information after an agreed amount of time.

“My personal position had been that we should follow Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines,” Preckwinkle said. “My understanding is that those guidelines suggested that our first responders emergency personnel should assume that any residence that they go to is possibly infected by COVID-19 since 80% of the people who get the disease have either mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.”

That’s a similar view to that of the McHenry County Health Department, which declined to provide names of COVID-19 patients until the McHenry County sheriff and four police departments sued earlier this month. A judge ruled that the names should be provided but must be kept confidential and purged from the 911 dispatch system seven days after the health department deems a patient is no longer contagious.

Lake County Health Department officials also have opted not to provide patient information to police and first responders firefighters.

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Barrington Countryside FPD news (more)

Excerpts from the

In early March, the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District agreed to a contract with Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS).

The agreement, in part, means firefighters with Barrington Countryside will be able to communicate more effectively with other departments that are a part of NWCDS, which serves nearly 500,000 people spanning more than 170 square miles.

Police and fire departments in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Inverness, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Schaumburg are all with NWCDS.

Barrington Countryside FPD Deputy Chief Don Wenschhof said the fire protection district agreed to a per-call fee in the new contract with Northwest Central Dispatch System, making it difficult to compare costs under the district’s former agreement with Round Lake Beach-based CenCom.

The per-call fee amounts to $58.53, while no entry fee was charged under the agreement with Northwest Central Dispatch System.

The cost to work with NWCDS may ultimately be more for the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District but firefighters thought the services offered were worth the expense, he said.

From 2014 to 2016, Barrington Countryside averaged about 1,857 emergency calls a year to CenCom, according to CenCom.

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Barrington Countryside FPD news

Excerpts from the

At the beginning of the month, The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District left CenCom 9-1-1 to join  Northwest Central Dispatch System.

Deputy Fire Chief Donald Wenschhof III said the switch provides stronger, wider-ranging radio coverage throughout the district.

Barrington Countryside serves portions of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington and Inverness; and portions of unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

The district used CenCom’s services since its split from the Barrington Fire Department in 2014.

thanks Drew

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Northwest Central Dispatch System receives accreditations

Excerpts from

Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) earned accreditation as an Emergency Fire Dispatch Center of Excellence and reaccreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).

They have the distinguished honor of becoming the 31st Emergency Fire Dispatch Accredited Center in the world and the first in the state of Illinois. NWCDS was the first Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence in the state in 2010.

John Ferraro, NWCDS executive director, said the honor of becoming an accredited center is only possible because of the hard work, experience, and professionalism of the telecommunicators.

The IAED is a nonprofit, standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide. Comprised of allied academies for medical, fire, and police, the IAED supports emergency related research, unified protocol application, legislation for emergency call center regulation, and strengthening the emergency dispatch community through education, certification, and accreditation. An Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) is the highest distinction in 911 emergency communications services.

The multijurisdictional 911 center services Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, and Streamwood.

thanks Dan

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9-1-1 dispatchers overcome by fumes

The Daily Herald has an article about a chemical release at Northwest Central Dispatch.

Seven Northwest Central Dispatch System employees in Arlington Heights were taken to a hospital Saturday after a nontoxic gas was sprayed into the room where they were working, authorities said. An electrical malfunction set off the fire suppression system that released the gas at about 3:30 p.m. in the dispatch headquarters at 1975 E. Davis St. in Arlington Heights, said Arlington Heights Fire Battalion Chief Bill Essling. Renovations are underway in the building, and work on Saturday apparently caused a spark but not a fire, he said.

“When contractors reconnected something, it created a spark and a short and subsequently set off the fire extinguishment system in the computer room,” Essling said.

The system sprays a nontoxic gas that won’t harm computer equipment, and it usually gives a warning before the gas is dispersed because it creates a white fog that is an irritant when inhaled, Essling said. Because of the electrical short, there was no warning, and employees didn’t get the chance to leave the room.

While Arlington Heights firefighters were responding to the scene at the main dispatch center, Essling said calls were handled by personnel at a sister station in Schaumburg.

“No 911 calls were missed or dropped, and no dispatches were delayed,” Essling said. “Everything worked the way it was supposed to.”?

thanks Drew

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Fire departments share resources

Microsoft Word - RPM_Press_Release_June_2014_1_1.docx

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Arlington Heights PD & FD receive generous gifts

The Chicago Tribune has an article about the Arlington Heights Police Department and Fire Department being the beneficiaries of a large donation:

The Arlington Heights man who drowned after driving his Cadillac into a pond, leading to the suspension of a dispatcher who mishandled his call for help, left $400,000 for local emergency responders in his will.

Henry E. Laseke estate’s gifted the Arlington Heights fire and police departments with $200,000 each. The man’s money is now paying for a brand new ambulance and funding the police K-9 unit for the next ten years, officials said.

“He was a wonderful person,” said Judy Filek, a family friend who is managing the Henry E. Laseke estate. “He was very quiet, not the type of person you would notice, but you know, he was very loyal.”

Arlington Heights Police Chief Gerald Mourning also said he met with Laseke and his lawyer about three years ago as he was preparing his will. The police chief suggested money for the K-9 unit because Laseke indicated he wanted to help the community with something “above and beyond” the police department budget.

Laseke, 89, drowned after driving his Cadillac SUV into the pond next to his Arlington Heights home on the morning of July 25. Police believe Laseke lost control of the SUV, struck an electrical box and then a post that holds up a balcony on a nearby condominium before ending up in the pond. Two of Laseke’s neighbors jumped into the water to try to save the man that morning in the 1500 block of Courtland Drive.

The dispatcher who was the last person to speak with Laseke ultimately was disciplined for mishandling his 911 call, although documents from Northwest Central Dispatch System suggest the dispatcher’s actions did not slow the response time, as other calls reporting the same emergency came in seconds earlier.

thanks Dan

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Hoffman Estates considers new alert system for fire department

This from Ron Wolkoff … the source is unclear:

Hoffman Estates firefighters may soon be benefiting from an improved alerting system and new mobile computers for five fire department vehicles.

While meeting as the public health and safety committee Monday, the Hoffman Estates village board reviewed a request to waive bidding and purchase $206,200 in new fire station alerting equipment for each of the village’s four fire stations.

The new equipment will replace systems that are more than 20 years old. It will match the master control panel that was installed in each station last year by the department’s dispatching center — Northwest Central Dispatch System — when it switched to a new computerized dispatch system.

Benefits of the new equipment include escalating tone signals and clear voice announcements, which will likely reduce cardiac stress and anxiety in firefighters and improve response time.

“Even before all the dispatch information is verbalized, there are scrolling screens and special lights on the ceiling that come on that inform members of the station that they’re going to be due to respond,” said Fire Chief Jeff Jorian.

The system is also equipped with an automatic power supply, ensuring emergency calls won’t be missed if the fire station experiences a power outage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the department that will cover 80 percent of the cost of the new equipment.

The village will cover the remaining 20 percent, with nearly $31,000 from reserves in the general fund and about $10,300 from reserves in the EDA administration fund.

In addition to the new alerting equipment, the board also reviewed a request to waive bidding and purchase $31,000 worth of new mobile work stations to be installed in a new fire engine that has yet to be purchased and four existing vehicles in the fleet. The current mobile computer equipment in the four existing vehicles was installed in 2007 and 2008.

The village’s 2013 operating budget contains funding for the purchase of the mobile work stations.

Final board approval for the purchase of the mobile work stations and the alerting system is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2.


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Car into pond in Arlington Heights 7-25-13 (more)

The Chicago Tribune has an article about a followup investigation into the handling of an incident last week where an elderly man drowned after driving his car into a local pond.

The emergency dispatcher who took a 911 call from an Arlington Heights man after he drove his car into a pond last week did not advise him to try to get out of the sinking vehicle, apparently in violation of the dispatch agency’s protocols.

The elderly man was rescued after [fire department divers] broke through a window, but he was pronounced dead a short time later. Some safety experts said that getting him out of the car before it became totally submerged would have been his best chance for survival.

Now, the dispatch agency that handled the six 911 calls about the accident — including the minutes-long conversation with the victim, Henry Laseke, 89 — has launched an inquiry to determine if “all standards and protocols were met,” according to a statement by Northwest Central Dispatch System.

In a recording of Laseke’s call, the dispatcher is heard asking him repeatedly for his address. The dispatcher tells him to calm down and that help is on the way.

Two minutes into the call, Laseke pleads one last time: “Hurry up, I’m sinking. The water is coming up …”

At no time did the dispatcher advise Laseke to try to open his car door or window or otherwise attempt to get out of the car.

But such instructions are part of the protocol for sinking vehicles developed by Priority Dispatch Corp., a Utah-based company that provides emergency protocols and training to Northwest Central’s 70 dispatchers.

“When somebody drives into the water and makes a 911 call, (the dispatcher would) tell them: ‘Unfasten your seat belts, open the car door and get out of your vehicle,'” said Michael Thompson, a consultant for Priority Dispatch Corp. “Anything else is counterproductive.”

Cindy Barbera-Brelle, executive director of Northwest Central, confirmed that Priority’s protocols are used by her agency, though she declined to comment on the specifics of the Arlington Heights incident.

Priority is “in the business of defining the protocols, and we follow them as they are written,” she said. “Those are the protocols that we have available to refer to, to follow when we’re processing calls.”

The incident happened about 7 a.m. Thursday, when Laseke apparently lost control of his 2013 Cadillac SUV and ended up in 8-foot-deep retention pond near his home. Neighbors say they saw Laseke talking on a cellphone inside the SUV as it bobbed in the water.

Speaking generally, Thompson said dispatchers typically do seek an address for most emergencies. But he said a sinking car requires a different response.

“Any agency that is not prepared to deal with that is probably doing their customer a disservice,” Thompson said.

Nationally, there are no mandatory standards for emergency dispatch protocols, experts said. But they added that most agencies follow common guidelines concerning emergency medical incidents, such as what steps to take if a person appears to be having a heart attack, experts said.

A sinking vehicle would be defined as a “technical rescue” that requires a special skill set and is not usually included in general guidelines for dispatchers that are provided by the National Fire Protection Association, said Ken Willette, a division manager for the Quincy, Mass.-based organization, which develops standards used by fire departments.

The Arlington Heights police and fire departments are also reviewing the incident.

Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen said he couldn’t speak to whether dispatchers are obligated to instruct callers on how to get to safety. But he said there are two crucial instructions to give someone in a sinking car: Undo the seat belt and open a window.

The National Safety Council said hundreds of people die each year due to vehicle submersion.

In such a situation, the focus should always be on escape — vehicles can sink in seconds, quicker than emergency crews can arrive on the scene, said John Ulczycki, a vice president with the council, who said he would have asked Laseke whether or not he could swim to safety.

A previous post about this incident can be found HERE.

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