The mission of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System – Illinois (MABAS-IL) is to provide emergency rapid response and sustained operations when an area is stricken by a locally overwhelming event that is generated by man-made, technological, or environmental threats. In response, MABAS-IL will deploy fire, emergency medical services (EMS), hazardous materials (HAZMAT), technical rescue (TRT), water rescue and recovery, urban search and rescue (US&R) and incident management teams (IMTs) to prevent the loss of life, human suffering and further damage to property. MABAS-IL is prepared to respond within and outside Illinois upon the authorized direction of local or state agencies.
MABAS-IL maintains an intrastate activity level with approximately 800 annual activations for routine daily extra alarm events. During 2008, MABAS supported several key activations and deployments. MABAS provided resources in support of State of Illinois Declarations of Disasters for flooding in various locations throughout the State. During this time, numerous MABAS-ITTF personnel decontamination vehicles supported flood-stricken communities and deployed Illinois National Guard units. The MABAS system augmented the first response of fire and EMS paramedic units to the Northern Illinois University (NIU) campus shooting tragedy. In less than thirty minutes, the system provided twenty-five additional EMS units to the scene in Dekalb, Illinois which is in MABAS Division 6. Additionally, during 2008, MABAS-IL resources were asked to support the City of Chicago during numerous large-scale events including: the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Major League Baseball (MLB) post-season playoff activities, the Chicago Marathon, and President Barack Obama’s election night festivities in Grant Park. During these events, MABAS Command Officers provided assistance at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications Joint Operations Center and Field Command Posts.
Over the past several years, MABAS-IL has participated in several interstate deployments in providing support and emergency services to hurricane stricken communities in southwest Louisiana. In 2008, MABAS-IL deployed approximately 150 firefighters and paramedics and 35 fire apparatus in response to an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The deployed units served for a two-week deployment where they provided backfill and emergency services support to numerous parishes throughout southwest Louisiana. Moreover, during the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery in 2005, MABAS-IL coordinated the deployment of more than 950 firefighters, paramedics and essential fire support equipment that ensured the continuation of critical, public safety services in New Orleans and ten surrounding areas. During MABAS’ six-week deployment, personnel assisted in the vaccination of residents, structural searches, water rescues, rendered support to Louisiana firefighters and their families, rebuilt fire stations and communication centers and other humanitarian missions. From the initial EMAC notification to deployment, the time period was less than 24-hours.
MABAS has been able to deploy millions of dollars of assets throughout the state in order to enhance the operational capabilities of the fire service. Some of the equipment has been issued to every fire department while other assets have been deployed on a regional basis. Assets deployed to a region are then available to all fire departments in that area on an as needed basis. In addition to specialized equipment for the TRT and HAZMAT teams, MABAS has provided such equipment as: decontamination units, air support apparatus, mobile generator/light towers, radiation detectors, VHF radios, StarCom21 radios, Incident Management Assistance Team trailers, all terrain vehicles, gas masks and fit test machines, just to name a few.
MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) in partnership with IEMA (Illinois Emergency Management Agency) have established a statewide, non-discriminatory mutual aid response system for fire, EMS and specialized incident operational teams. Sharing the effort are representatives from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Department of Public Health - EMS Division and Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. The system defines a resource response plan to any location within the state when the Governor orders a Declaration of Disaster. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on January 16, 2001, a first in Illinois history.
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