MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System)-Illinois provides a legally compliant, organized sharing of emergency service resources between municipalities as allowed under Illinois Statute within the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. MABAS was created in 1968 as a mechanism coping with rapid growth and development being experienced in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. MABAS grew steadily becoming the “Life net” for local Fire Departments when confronted with daily emergency events exceeding their local capabilities. Over time MABAS grew in geographic and member agency size in northern Illinois with approximately 225 member agencies organized in 25 organized response Divisions. As MABAS continued to meet these challenges, the events of September 11th presented our nation with new and more sinister challenges. The Illinois Fire Service Agencies responded to this new normal by recreating the MABAS System and meeting the new expectations of Intergovernmental and National response cooperation.
Following September 11th, MABAS grew in geographic and member agency size from a northern Illinois cooperative with approximately 225 member agencies to statewide intergovernmental coverage with 69 MABAS Divisions and nearly 1200 member agencies throughout Illinois 102 Counties – Truly a Statewide effort with MABAS Affiliates developing in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa. Major Metropolitan Cities were, or became, MABAS member agencies including Chicago, St Louis and Milwaukee. The need for a robust, coordinated Fire, EMS and Special Rescue Operation Team Mutual Aid System was recognized and embraced throughout Urbanized, Suburban and Rural Communities throughout Illinois. The Challenge expanded in 2005 when MABAS-Illinois was mobilized for Interstate mutual aid to Louisiana including New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
MABAS-Illinois signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January, 2000 with Illinois Emergency Management Agency as allowed under the IEMA Act agreeing for MABAS to become a Mobile Support Team under the direction of Illinois’ Governor during Declarations of Disaster. In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and over twelve adjoining Parishes. A Federal Declaration of Disaster existed and MABAS-Illinois was tasked to provide a large supporting force of Firefighter/EMTs to mobilize in support by interstate mutual aid by EMAC (Emergency Management Agency Compact) an arm of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). MABAS Illinois met the mission with nearly 900 Firefighter/EMTs and over 250 fire-rescue vehicles for a deployment period of nine weeks. In the years following, MABAS provided interstate mutual aid resources in response to two additional Louisiana Hurricane landfalls, Super Storm Sandy and the water rescue teams to the Carolinas in 2018. MABAS-Illinois is activated approximately 1100 times per year in response to local, extra alarm incidents. Additionally, Illinois risks for larger scale responses and Declarations of Disaster exist in Tornadoes, Floods, Earthquakes, Surface transportation derailments, Man-made terrorist and lone wolf events, Active Shooter assaults and Nuclear Power Plants (More in Illinois than any other State in the Nation). MABAS-Illinois will continue to re-invent itself as the risks grow and the unknown challenges of tomorrow confront us—it is our Duty.
MABAS-Illinois does not have any taxing authority. Current MABAS-Illinois operating revenues are based on Homeland Security and FEMA grants which, over the recent years have been reduced and limit MABAS’ ability to prepare for ALL hazards and threats. MABAS agency membership is based on a modest sliding scale of annual dues as it relates to an agency’s annual operating budget. The Financial future of a robust and effective MABAS-Illinois is impossible to forecast therefore the creation of the MABAS Foundation to augment resource and capability financial support.
The MABAS Foundation’s efforts to raise revenue through tax deductible donations is an effort to shore up the financial revenue ability in sponsoring Statewide Firefighter education, training, equipment and response systems so Neighbors can help Neighbors and Communities can help Communities during the worst times of their lives. The MABAS Foundation does not have any paid or compensated staff but rather operates through volunteering efforts.
We encourage your review of this web sites drop down and link sections as noted in the margins or site ribbons. We encourage potential supporters and donors to contact the MABAS Foundation with questions, comments or thoughts. We want to thank all who have, or want to commit, to supporting our efforts in serving our mission – it is MABAS’ Mission to fulfill our collective duty to serve – we need everyone’s help to achieve success. Thank You.
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