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.
MABAS includes approximately 35,000 of Illinois’ 40,000 firefighters who staff emergency response units including more than 1,500 fire stations, 2,495 engine companies, 469 ladder trucks, 1,100 ambulances (mostly paramedic capable), 297 heavy rescue squads and 788 water tenders. Fire / EMS reserve (back-up) units account for more than 1,000 additional emergency vehicles.
MABAS also offers specialized operations teams for hazardous materials (42 teams), underwater rescue/recovery (26 teams), technical rescue (41 teams) and a state sponsored urban search and rescue team. An additional element of resource are the certified fire investigators, which can be packaged as teams for larger incidents requiring complicated and time-consuming efforts for any single agency.
MABAS has been activated on several occasions by Illinois Emergency Management Agency for emergency declarations since the January 16, 2001 Memorandum of Understanding was signed. The responses include; Tamara train derailment, Roanoke tornado, Utica tornado disaster, and Louisiana Hurricane’s Katrina, Gustav and Ike response and recovery effort through an EMAC activation.
Technical Rescue Team
The Normal Fire Department provides the MABAS Division 41 Technical Rescue Team (TRT). This highly trained team responds for high angle rope rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, and structural collapse rescue. The team has responded to incidents in Normal, Bloomington, Heyworth, Ellsworth, Utica and Roanoke. There are approximately 25 Normal firefighters that have attended hundreds of hours of specialized training to become members of this team and must be ready to deploy statewide on a couple of hours notice.