Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Executive Director Andrew Velasquez of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) today in unveiling Chicagos new state-of-the-art City Incident Center (CIC) located at the 911 Center, 1411 West Madison St.
The CIC will integrate OEMCs homeland security strategies with traffic services, towing, Department of Streets and Sanitation operations and the Department of Water Management dispatch services.
“This is the logical next step in our ongoing effort to integrate the communications and dispatch operations of all the relevant City departments, so they can respond rapidly and effectively to any emergency – whether it’s a blizzard, a major fire or a terrorist attack,” Daley said at a news conference at the 911 Center.
The 3,000-square-foot CIC is adjacent to the Operations Center, the City’s central command post for managing and coordinating major events and emergency responses.
The CIC houses personnel from OEMC and the Department of Streets and Sanitations Snow Command, Radio Room and Electrical Dispatch, as well as dispatchers from the Department of Water Management and the Traffic Management Authority.
The facility features the latest in audio/visual design innovations and is equipped with advanced radio switching to make communications among City departments more efficient and reliable.
Twenty-four workstations are equipped with state of the art network switching; touch- enabled flat screen technology providing access to applications; and weather sensors.
Twelve 42-inch television monitors can descend from the ceiling to rest at eye level in front of each operator and display images from cameras located throughout the city.
The east wall contains an innovative movable video track that can move TV monitors around the room. By a quick point of a mouse, supervisors can direct the monitors to display applications or camera images to assist the dispatchers.
The CIC has an 18-foot high-resolution digital video wall, capable of displaying dozens of images from city cameras, breaking news and Doppler radar.
The CIC allows officials to share information, make decisions and deploy resources without being physically present at an event. Web-enabled software provides video conferencing capability throughout the room, allowing managers to evaluate event information from both inside and outside the CIC.
“This will result in more efficient snow removal and water-main repairs, and a more effective deployment of resources to major emergencies that require a response from several City departments,” Daley said. “In an emergency, every minute counts. And when you have all your dispatchers in one place, working as a team, you get the job done faster and better.”
“For example an extra alarm fire in the winter presents challenges for firefighters and motorists due to traffic congestion and water freezing on the roadways, ” said Velasquez. “With the integration of radio, phone and audio/visual systems, we will be positioned to provide an expedited level of response through quick deployment of traffic services, salt truck deployment and Water Management employees to assist with frozen hydrants and water pressure problems.”
The CIC cost approximately $4 million and was funded by combination of grants from the U.S. Homeland Security Administration and general obligation bonds.