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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2003

New State Law Closes Emergency Disconnection Loophole
Measure to help Fire Departments be pro-active

CRESTWOOD – By signing House Bill 2489, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich made today it mandatory for telecommunications carriers to alert municipal Emergency Services at least two weeks prior to discontinuing service on dedicated fire alarm phone lines. Fire alarms, which use dedicated phone lines, are the primary notification source for Fire Departments.

 

“Currently, a telecommunications carrier can shut off service to emergency lines for fire and emergency systems without notifying municipalities. So if a fire occurred in a building covered by the phone line that had been shut down without notification, local fire departments would not automatically get the call,” said the Governor. “This law corrects the problem by requiring telecommunications companies to provide local authorities with ample notice before they shut down a phone line dedicated to an emergency or fire alert system.”

 

“I commend bill sponsors State Rep. Bob Rita (D- Crestwood) and State Senator Patrick Welch (D- Peru) for championing this measure that will undoubtedly make our communities safer and give fire departments more support they deserve when responding to emergencies.”

 

“Most people don’t realize that something as simple as a phone line connects them to emergency services and when that line is cut, the Fire Department often wasn’t notified,” said Director Lehr. “Now, our law will make sure that Fire Departments will be the first to know instead of the last when connection has been turned off. Plus, with the two weeks notice, we can be pro-active with businesses that have terminated phone lines.”

 

The governor signed the bill into law at the Crestwood Fire Department, 13840 Cicero Ave. He was joined by Senate President Emil Jones; Rep. Bob Rita; Sen. Pat Welch; Crestwood Mayor Chester Stranczek; and Jeff Lehr, Director of Fiore Prevention and Emergency Communications, Lemont Fire Department.



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