WHAT IS MABAS?
MABAS is a mutual aid organization that has been in existence since the late 1960s. Heavily rooted throughout northern Illinois, MABAS now includes over 750 member fire departments organized within 75 divisions. MABAS first came to Wisconsin in 1987 with the joining of the Village of Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County. MABAS divisions geographically span the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and the other states, i.e. Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio, are considering joining. There are 16 established Wisconsin divisions (as of May 2008) who share MABAS with the 62 divisions established in Illinois.
MABAS includes over 25,000+ firefighters and daily staffed emergency response units including more than 950 fire stations, 1100+ engine companies, 375+ ladder trucks, 800+ ambulances (mostly paramedic capable), 150+ heavy rescue squads, 135+ light rescue squads, and 275+ water tankers. Fire/EMS reserve (back-up) units account for more than 600 additional emergency vehicles. MABAS also offers specialized operations teams for hazardous materials (HAZMAT), underwater rescue/recovery (DIVE) and above grade/below grade, trench and building collapse rescues, a.k.a. Technical Rescue Teams (TRT). 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* Wisconsin – Organized August 20, 2004
The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (known as MABAS) Senate Bill SB 642 was approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature and signed by Governor Jim Doyle in April 5th, 2006. MABAS is a mutual aid measure that may be used for deploying fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel in a multi-jurisdictional and/or multi-agency response.
Participation in the mutual aid program is voluntary. Equipment, personnel or services provided under MABAS are at no charge between municipalities. Expenses recovered from the responsible parties are equitably distributed. In addition, emergency personnel that respond to the emergency remain employees of their initial department or agency. MABAS is broken into divisions rather than regions.
The MABAS divisions basically follow county lines. The only exception is the City of Milwaukee which has established its own MABAS division due to size and number of agencies potentially involved. Currently, twenty counties have formally established MABAS divisions and an additional 14 counties are in the process of adopting the program.
Wisconsin Emergency Management has conducted many outreach meetings throughout the state to explain the mutual aid measure. It takes 12-18 months for a MABAS division to become fully functional. Statewide the most conservative estimate is that it will take 5 years to fully implement MABAS across Wisconsin.