Amid cloak-and-dagger secrecy, the Daley administration is building a backup 911 center at O’Hare Airport to handle emergency calls if a terrorist attack or natural disaster damages Chicago’s primary facility in the West Loop, City Hall sources said Wednesday.
Sources said the backup facility will be located in an O’Hare building that houses the airport’s communications nerve center.
Rooms in that building — possibly two floors below ground — are being retrofitted into a rudimentary version of Chicago’s state-of-the-art 911 center at Madison and Loomis. The work started in late January. It was not known when the work would be completed or how much it would cost.
Dispatchers and call takers will not have their own consoles at the backup facility. They will field calls while seated four-to-a-table. The project will be paid for by federal Homeland Security funds.