THE MAGAZINE

Chicago’s Big Security Shoulders

By Teresa Anderson

The exercise also revealed that the airline needed to conduct follow-up training with first responders. Because the airport is a restricted area, even first responders must be escorted. This means that “staging areas must be set up and motor escorts provided,” according to Dacey. The airline found that it needed more resources, drawn from other airlines, to meet this need.

These training exercises often look at emergency response in light of regulations and compliance protocols set out by the federal government or state agencies. But, Dacey notes, the lesson is to go above and beyond the basic requirements. “We always ask: ‘Are we [just] compliant or are we competent?’”

City of Chicago

The office of emergency management (OEM) is the central hub for communications in the city of Chicago. The OEM serves as the city’s operations center for emergencies. In that capacity, it provides public assistance during emergencies and serves as the city’s contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Illinois Office of Emergency Management, and other federal and state emergency management agencies. It also disseminates emergency planning and disaster recovery materials.
The massive amount of information gathered by the OEM is used to meet the immediate needs of the populace, to help coordinate security efforts for large events, and to facilitate high-tech crime solving.

911 calls. The OEM also houses a newly renovated 911 dispatch center, which handles about 5.2 million emergency calls annually. At each of the center’s 127 workstations assigned to handle 911 calls, a dispatcher interacts with information on several separate screens. Each call that comes in pulls up a map of the location on one screen, then another screen indicates to the dispatcher the number of available police cars, and a third screen allows the employee to record information gathered during or related to the call, such as the type of emergency reported and the number of vehicles dispatched to the scene.

 

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