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Lemont Fire outsources dispatchers to Orland Park

LEMONT – The Lemont Fire Protection District has reached an agreement with Orland Central Dispatch to handle its emergency dispatch services.

The Lemont Fire Protection District Board of Trustees approved the move during its Dec. 19 meeting.

The fire protection district will eliminate the three fulltime and six part time dispatchers working in Lemont.

Fire Chief George Rimbo said the decision ultimately came down to cost effectiveness.

"We came to the conclusion we were paying a lot of money for something we could do for a lot less," he said.

Rimbo said the district lost some of the revenue used to pay for the dispatchers because of a state court decision that fire districts could not be in the fire alarm monitoring business.

He said the average call taken in Lemont costs $116, whereas receiving the calls at Orland Central would cost an average $39 per call.

Keeping the dispatchers in Lemont would also require $225,000 in system updates, he said.

Rimbo said the system at Orland Central will be an upgrade over what Lemont currently uses.

The Geographic Information System technology will be able to quickly determine where the closest fire engine and ambulance are to the incident area, he said.

Rimbo said the target date to make the switch is April 1.

The dispatchers are not members of Lemont Professional Firefighters Local 3966.

Rimbo said he has not heard much concern from the firefighters about the change.

"They just want to know what's going on at the end of the day," he said.

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