HastingsHazel Crest, Ill. – Fire officials and elected leaders today joined together to announce new, first-of-its-kind technology in Illinois will be implemented for south suburban fire departments that will improve emergency response times and emergency care for southland residents.

Through a state grant awarded by Sen. Michael Hastings, south suburban fire departments will soon begin implementing new technology called CentralSquare Unify that will sync dispatch services among fire protection districts signed up for the program. In effect, the new technology will provide instant alerts to south suburban fire protection districts when additional assistance is needed to respond to emergencies.

“A state grant will allow southland fire districts participating in this program to implement technology that we have not yet seen in Illinois,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “The new Unify program will allow for quicker emergency response for our communities.”

With a $600,000 state grant, the CentralSquare Unify program is being led by the Orland Park Fire Protection District and includes participation from numerous south suburban fire districts signed up for the program: Blue Island, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Garden Homes Fire Protection District, Glenwood, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lemont, Matteson, Merrionette Park, Oak Forest, Palos Fire Protection District, Park Forest, Richton Park, Riverdale, South Holland, Thornton, and Tinley Park. The goal is to expand the technology to as many south suburban fire protection districts as possible to ensure seamless and instant communication capabilities and improve emergency response times.

“This new technology will change emergency responses in the state forever,” said Chief Michael Schofield, of the Orland Park Fire Protection District.

Currently, fire protection districts rely on reaching out to neighboring districts by phone when extra help is necessary. CentralSquare Unify is a data exchange that facilitates real-time communication between multiple fire departments, multiple emergency communications centers, and multiple CAD (computeraided dispatch) systems. Because these computerized data exchanges happen simultaneously and quickly, emergency communiations centers using this technology are far more efficient in securing additional resources when needed. 

“The installation of this new technology will help our fire and rescue departments reduce valuable emergency response times, helping to save countless lives throughout the Southland," said Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry. “I would like to thank Senator Michael Hastings and his colleagues in the state legislator for this continue commitment to improving public safety for our Southland residents.”