By ANNE LUNDE
Journal & Topics Reporter
Later this year, when you dial 911 for help in Rosemont, you’ll be connected to a dispatch center operating in central Leyden Township.
When Rosemont moved Village Hall offices out of the north end of the Expo Center on Bryn Mawr and into the current municipal building on Devon, the emergency communications for police, fire and ambulances moved along.
It made sense at the time -- Rosemont had a combined public safety department.
One of the solutions to having enough personnel to respond to fires in tall hotels was to cross-train officers for fire and police. At one point some officers trained as paramedics as well.
New state laws will require any municipality with less than 2,500 residents to go into a regional dispatch system.
Public Safety Superintendent Donald Stephens III says he postponed losing Rosemont’s independence as long as he could.
Rosemont will be going into a private 911 dispatch system which is connected to Superior Air-Ground Ambulance, the Elmhurst-based ambulance company.
NORCOMM currently operates its dispatch center in the lower level of the Leyden Township Fire Protection District Headquarters. That building is in the borders of Franklin Park but its department serves unincorporated Leyden, similar to the North Maine and Norwood Park Township districts.
Dionne Jones, deputy director at NORCOMM, came to Lange Park Feb. 4, to explain how the system works.
Calls from Rosemont landlines will be patched directly to NORCOMM. Local phone towers will also be patched there, but it is harder to identify which towers or which communities the phone signals bounce off.
Callers will have to identify what municipality they are calling from. Saying “Scott Street” is not enough because there are at least four areas in Leyden which use the same north-south street names, Jones said.
NORCOMM operators have a secured database and will ask that all residents or business people with local offices in Rosemont fill out a chart of contacts and locations, and update it at least once every six months.
“Smart 911” holds the contact information but only becomes accessible if there is a 911 call, Jones said.
The operator will ask the caller who they are, where they are (address and in what part of a house or yard), and what the problem is.
Other information in the locked file can help first responders know what to expect.
Are they married, who else lives there, are there pets in the building? Where is the caller, are they sick or injured or inside a building or in the yard? Is the caller a witness or concerned neighbor?
Meanwhile, Jones said, the officers or paramedics have been dispatched to the address and can be updated on the way.
The website for Smart 9-1-1 is smart911.com.
Staffing at NORCOMM also will serve six other municipal systems, so more personnel will be available.
Stephens said Rosemont will continue to staff its desk and non-emergency phone system 24 hours a day so there will be people to handle different types of questions, arrests, etc.
Rosemont currently cooperates in mutual aid calls, including those calls received through the RED Center which took over the old fire dispatch system which had been in Des Plaines.
RED Center includes Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Niles, North Maine and most of the fire departments east to Evanston. It does not handle police calls, but NORCOMM will dispatch both.
Rosemont’s original paramedics had been shifted to a private ambulance company, PSSI, later PSI, which was owned and operated by the former village paramedics. The founders are no longer involved, and Stephens sent the department’s paramedic contract out for bid this year.
The village knew they would have to replace its two older ambulances this year, so the department will buy two ambulances of its own.
Of three companies which bid on the services, Rosemont chose Superior’s Metro Paramedic Services in Elmhurst, which would supplement the village’s ambulances with three others when needed.
Metro also has additional equipment that could be used, even a helicopter to respond to accidents on the tollways to get people injured in accidents transported to helipads at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital or Presence-Resurrection Medical Center.
Transition to the paramedic services is expected to take place later this year.