CHICAGO (CBS) — In the next few weeks, the Chicago Fire Department expects to begin using a state of the art communications system that’s been years in development.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago describes the new system as the Cadillac of radios. He says the new $20 million-plus system addresses many of the problems that faced the New York City Fire Department on Sept. 11, 2001.

Among those problems is the inability to communicate with police and other agencies during an emergency.

“For the first time, we’ll be able to talk to each other. For the first time, we’ll be able to talk to the police. For the first time, we’ll be able to talk to (the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.) We can even be talking to a crossing guard,” Santiago said.

And, for the first time, every Chicago firefighter will carry a two-way radio. A federal report concluded the lack of individual radios was a factor in the deaths of two Chicago firefighters – Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum – in a blaze at a South Side Laundromat in December 2010.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

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