CHICAGO — Multiple Chicago public safety organizations are focused on summer safety both on and off the water.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Chicago Fire Department (CFD) , Chicago Police Department (CPD) , the U.S. Coast Guard, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police, the Chicago Park District, and the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee were all represented at a Thursday media event.
Part of the event was a water rescue demonstration to both show the preparedness of the organizations, and provide them another training exercise. A press conference was held following the demonstration.
Watch the full video of the demonstration and press conference above.
The press release for the event included information about each involved organization. Full text below.
Chicago Fire Department Air Sea Rescue Unit
The Air Sea Rescue Unit provides search and rescue services for 37 miles of lakefront, an extensive river system, numerous lakefront venues, and the largest harbor system in the U.S. Chicago’s busy lakefront offers the Air Sea Rescue Unit unique emergency challenges including, assistance to boats in distress, water rescues and air search missions. Divers assigned to the Air Sea Rescue Unit are trained under public safety rescue diver guidelines specific to Chicago’s needs and particular environment. Our air pilots are trained in helicopter search and rescue, and hoist rescue techniques patterned after nationally recognized standards.
Chicago Police Marine and Helicopter Unit
Marine Operations personnel are responsible for all bodies of water within the City of Chicago. This includes 80 square miles of Lake Michigan, 27 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, 38 miles of Chicago River system, Wolf Lake, Lake Calumet and various ponds and lagoons throughout the City. The City of Chicago is home to the largest municipal harbor system in the United States with close to 5,100 slips and moorings, there are 100,000 registered boaters in the state and there is anticipation for the addition of other harbors in Chicago.
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC)
OEMC provides citizens of Chicago with prompt and reliable 911 service for police, fire and emergency medical services and coordinates major emergency response. OEMC oversees a number of functions that support public safety and provides assistance to residents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The OEMC manages the following operational areas for the city: 9-1-1 call taking and dispatch; the 3-1-1 call center; emergency management; and traffic management. The OEMC works closely with the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department, in addition to various other local, state, and federal agencies as it relates to public safety planning and coordination for everything from large-scale special events to public safety emergencies.
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
Coast Guard Station Chicago is located in Chicago, IL., the third largest city in the nation and the busiest station in the Coast Guard’s Ninth District. On average, we respond to move then 100 search and rescue cases per year, conduct 1,000 law enforcement boardings, and participate in 100 major marine events. Our operating area is Chicago, IL to Gary, IN on Lake Michigan and nearly 150 miles of river system. Station Calumet Harbor is designated the parent command of Station (small) DuSable Harbor, located at the Chicago Maritime Safety Station (CMSS) (Old Coast Guard Station Chicago) with the Chicago Marine Police and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police (IDNR)
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is responsible for the registration of recreational boats. Additionally, the Illinois Conservation Police are the primary enforcement officers of the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety act. Additional areas of responsibility are to investigate and document boating accidents which results in the loss of life, injury to a person greater than first aid, or total property damage (vessel, contents, and other property) of $2,000.00 or greater. The IDNR District Office and patrol boats are housed at the Chicago Marine Safety Station.
Chicago Park District
The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,800 acres of green space, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation. The Chicago Park District’s more than 600 parks offer thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs for youth, adults, and seniors. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 27 indoor pools, 50 outdoor pools, and 28 miles of lakefront including 22 swimming beaches plus one inland beach. From canoeing to soccer fields to arts and crafts, there is never a shortage of activities to participate in Chicago’s parks.
Chicago Harbor Safety Committee
The purpose of the CHSC in ensuring the sharing of the waterways, how it represents all waterways Sectors from human powered craft to tug and barge who have all come together to learn from one another. CHSC has an excellent communication and partnerships between the local and Federal Agencies about the rules of the waterways and boater education.