COVID-19 Online Assessment Tool Launched by Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS)

 Press Release

NWCDS has been a model for consolidated government and shared services since 1972. The multi-jurisdictional 9-1-1 center serves 11 northwest suburban communities outside of Chicago, Illinois, with a population of about 500,000 people. More information can be learned about NWCDS on its website: www.nwcds.org

An online COVID-19 assessment tool has been implemented to assist residents in the NWCDS service area. The tool can be used to assess symptoms or exposure related to COVID-19. Residents can utilize the tool by following the link on the NWCDS website, or directly clicking:

Assessment Tool Link

Users of the assessment tool answer a series of questions about symptoms and risk factors, and based on an algorithm, receive general advice about the recommended next steps. The system then offers informational resources, such as telephone numbers and websites, according to John Ferraro, Executive Director of NWCDS. The purpose is not to discourage residents from calling 9-1-1 if they feel an ambulance is needed, but rather as a resource to help make an informed decision.

Residents can use the program anonymously, but by providing their zip code, they can help the track clusters of concern. In addition, users who choose to share a phone number or email address can receive reminders about monitoring their symptoms.

NWCDS works closely with Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights and under the direction of Medical Director, Dr. Matthew Jordan. “Northwest Community Hospital is proud of the way NWCDS is eager to help all residents navigate COVID-19”, stated Jordan. “We appreciate NWCDS leading the creation of a web-based tool to provide support and direction for citizens in our area.”

The COVID-19 Assessment, Tracking, and Triage (CATT) tool was recently developed by Priority Dispatch, Inc., to help dispatch centers handle increased calls due to COVID-19. NWCDS uses Priority Dispatch Inc., for Emergency Medical and Emergency Fire Dispatch. “They are a trusted partner in public safety”, Ferraro said.



 Press Release

HISTORY: NWCDS, its member communities, and the police and fire departments of those communities agree that in order to help mitigate the danger to first responders, as well as protect the public at large, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) should share information related to confirmed cases of COVID-19 for our service area. This information would be entered into the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system as premise warnings by NWCDS, so police and fire responders could be notified when dispatched to an address. NWCDS would agree to remove these premise warnings after an agreed amount of time.

ISSUE: NWCDS has made requests, both informal and formal, to Cook County Board President Preckwinkle and the CCDPH for the release of this information. Most recently, NWCDS sent a letter to the Joint Directors of the CCDPH, on April 13, 2020, asking for their assistance in obtaining this information. NWCDS asked for a response from CCDPH by Wednesday, April 15th. No response was received by NWCDS to this request from CCDPH.

ACTION: The NWCDS Board of Directors has authorized the filing of a Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order in Cook County Circuit Court asking a judge to order the CCDPH to provide the requested COVID-19 information to NWCDS. The NWCDS Board of Directors determined to file its Complaint on Monday, April 20th. However, the Board also tried to work with elected County Board Commissioners to gain the release of the information without the need for legal action and wanted to resolve this issue through the cooperation of President Preckwinkle and the County Board.

The Cook County Board met on Thursday, April 23rd. NWCDS truly had hoped that the County Board would take action to facilitate the release of the COVID-19 information to NWCDS at that meeting. Because the Cook County Board did not act to release COVID-19 information to the 9- 1-1 center, NWCDS is moving forward with its legal action on April 24, 2020, and will request a hearing with a judge. NWCDS has also heard from other 9-1-1 dispatch agencies and police and fire departments within Cook County supporting this action.


Northwest Central Dispatch System Receives APCO Agency Training Program Certification

Alexandria, VA – Northwest Central Dispatch System, Illinois, has received Agency Training Program Certification, a Project 33 Initiative, from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International. Public safety agencies use the APCO International Agency Training Program Certification as a formal mechanism to ensure their training programs meet APCO American National Standards (ANS). Initial and continuing training for public safety telecommunicators is important as they provide essential services to the public in an expanding and rapidly changing environment.

“Effective initial training, as well as continuing education are paramount for public safety telecommunicators,” said APCO International President Holly Wayt. “Successfully attaining APCO’s Agency Training Program Certification clearly demonstrates an agency’s commitment to the citizens and public safety responders they serve.”

Northwest Central Dispatch System will be recognized during the Food for Thought Luncheon taking place as part of APCO’s 85th Annual Conference & Expo, in Baltimore, MD, August 11-14, 2019. Executive Director John Ferraro was excited to learn about the honor. “Achieving outside validation for our training program is great recognition for the Telecommunicators that work so hard every day, as well as our Training Operations Manager, Lauri Orwig that coordinated the effort to receive this certification. I’m proud of the entire organization!”


Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) Achieves ACE Reaccreditation with Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) and Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD)

NWCDS has been a model for consolidated government and shared services since 1972. The multi-jurisdictional 9-1-1 center serves 11 northwest suburban communities with a population of about 500,000 people. The center’s trained Telecommunicators have been using Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols since 1995 and Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) since 2011.

The EMD and EFD protocols are scripted questions and instructions asked or provided when a 9-1-1 caller is requesting an ambulance or the fire department. The protocols are created by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), which is also the accrediting body. In order to achieve these accreditations, NWCDS has to meet or exceed many points of accreditation including compliance with the protocol standards, training, regular quality assurance reviews, and organizational requirements.

NWCDS first received “ACE” (accredited center of excellence) status with EMD in 2010, and has reaccredited every 3 years. The center achieved ACE status in 2016 for EFD and just reaccredited for the first time. NWCDS is the only center in Illinois that holds ACE accreditations for both EMD and EFD. “There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into reaccrediting as an ACE,” said IAED Chair of Accreditation Christof C. Chwojka. “We’re certainly proud of Northwest Central Dispatch System and its dedication to this process. Reaccrediting in two disciplines simultaneously is no easy feat. NWCDS is part of an elite group of dual-ACE agencies. We commend them for their hard work."

John Ferraro, Executive Director of NWCDS issued the following statement: “We are proud of our affiliation with IAED and are firm believers in EMD and EFD protocols. It is our mission to provide the best possible service to the citizens, and the use of EMD and EFD protocols helps us meet that mission. Receiving ACE recognition is validation that we are doing our jobs at a high level and exceeding industry standards. I want to thank the entire NWCDS staff for their commitment to excellence. Without their skills and dedication, the accreditation would not be possible. I would also like to thank Operations Manager Dan Sacomano for all of his hard work in submitting the applications. We appreciate the guidance we receive from our member communities, and our partners at Northwest Community Hospital.”

Please email John Ferraro, Executive Director with any questions. JFerraro@nwcds.org Thank you.


Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) Celebrates National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week

TC Week 2018

We are excited to wish everyone a happy National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (NPSTW). Initially conceived in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, NPSTW was created to raise public awareness of the hard work and dedication of public safety Telecommunicators. In October 1991, APCO International successfully lobbied to receive a formal proclamation by Congress, which was signed by President Bill Clinton, designating the second full week in April as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. We hope you enjoy the week.


Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) CAD/LRMS/FRMS/Mobile Data RFP

Thank you for checking in on the release of the NWCDS RFP for CAD/LRMS/FRMS/Mobile Data. The consultants from Mission Critical Partners together with the NWCDS RFP Selection Committee continue to work on the final document. The RFP will be published the week of August 21, 2017. It is estimated that vendors will be given 8-weeks to submit proposals with a due date of October 20, 2017. Please email John Ferraro, Executive Director with any questions. JFerraro@nwcds.org Thank you.


Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Partners with NWCDS

 NWCDS BCFPD Transfer Announcment

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