First Local IPAWS Certification In Illinois Outside Chicago
By Tom Robb | on June 28, 2023
Glenview and Cook County officials announced a first-of-its-kind partnership allowing Glenview Public Safety Dispatch telecommunicators to issue local text alerts to residents in emergencies in most of the 14 communities served by Glenview’s dispatch facility.
Glenview Public Safety Dispatch Center officials, Glenview police, and fire officials were joined by Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton (D-14th) and Cook County Dept. of Emergency Management and Regional Security officials Monday at village hall announcing that Glenview Public Safety Dispatch can now transmit geographically targeted emergency and life-saving alerts to cell phones and mobile devices through the Integrated Public Alerting Warning System (IPAWS).
The IPAWS certification of the Glenview dispatch system is the first in Illinois for a municipality outside Chicago.
“In the case of an extreme weather event or, I dread to think, if we are faced with a mass casualty event that threatens the well-being of the public, getting information to the public quickly and efficiently is paramount,” said Britton. “I applaud the Glenview Consolidated Dispatch Center for accessing the IPAWS system. Through IPAWS and so many other programs, Cook County continues to ensure municipalities have the resources they need to keep residents safe and informed.”
Glenview telecommunicators can now use the IPAWS system to transmit emergency messages in the same way the county can, but can localize messages to any one of 10 out of 14 communities Glenview dispatches for.
Glenview Public Safety Dispatch Director Brent Reynolds said the system would only be used in situations where there is a potential life safety threat such as a potential mass casualty event, or something like a hazardous chemical spill.
Glenview Public Safety Dispatch includes police dispatching for Highland Park. Reynolds said had the system been in place, it could have been used to issue localized alerts during the July 4, 2022 Highland Park parade mass shooting.
Glenview dispatches first responders for Glencoe Public Safety, Glenview police and fire, Grayslake police, the village of Hainesville, Highland Park police and fire, Highwood police, Kenilworth police, Lake Forest police and fire, Lake Bluff police and fire, Lindenhurst police, Morton Grove police, Niles police, Northfield police, and Winnetka police.
Reynolds said although the communities of Niles, Highwood, Lindenhurst and Grayslake are part of the Glenview Public Safety Dispatch system, those communities do not have adequate agreements to utilize the localized IPAWS system. Reynolds said agreements are being worked on in those communities.
For several years, Glenview and many other communities have had a “Smart911” system, which residents can sign up for to receive information from the village on both emergencies and other important information. The company which supplies that service is Rave Mobile Safety.
Additionally, IPAWS, which can send emergency alerts regarding weather warnings, missing children, or other emergency situations to all cell phones that use Rave technology. Other surrounding counties and Chicago also use IPAWS.
The IPAWS program was created in 2006 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA officials said, “Cell phones and mobile devices receive wireless emergency alerts based on location, even if cellular networks are overloaded and can no longer support calls, text, and emails.”