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MABAS-IL Statewide Special Operational Teams provide a geographic and systematic response of specially trained personnel, equipment and support resources to catastrophic manmade, natural, and terrorist events.  Special Operation Teams are structured to be on the scene of an incident and operational within less than one hour any where in the State of Illinois

MABAS-IL Statewide Special Operation Teams are the direct result of the cooperative relationship between the Illinois Fire Service, Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF), Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), Mutual Aid Box Alarm System – Illinois (MABAS-IL), Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), and the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM).

The MABAS system provides the administrative support and doctrines that enables the organization of multiple fire agencies into one highly equipped and trained team. The concept of combining resources offsets the financial burden placed on any one single fire agency and provides for the significant depth and sustainability of resources at emergency incidents.  

MABAS Special Operations team’s scope of responsibility is dependent upon their level of training discipline. In Illinois there are currently forty-four Hazardous Materials (ESF #10 -Type II), Thirty-eight Technical Rescue (ESF #9 Collapse medium/Type II), and one Urban Search & Rescue Team (Type I). Currently MABAS is coordinating the development of water rescue teams (underwater, swift water and sonar side-scan systems).

Each Special Operations Team maintains a minimum deployment roster of 30 members trained to the Technician Level.  The dynamics of the deployment roster supports the deployment of 10 members to local or state-wide responses, while maintaining a contingency of reserve team members for replenishing long term operations or response to a secondary incident.

Core competency training for MABAS Special Operation Teams is developed and conducted through the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. IFSI is a Co-Chair of the Training Committee for the ITTF and one of its missions is to define, develop and implement a statewide training strategy that prepares local responders to operate against all-hazards in their local jurisdiction, as a local member of a regional team, as statewide response team members for statewide response, and to prepare elected and appointed officials to serve as emergency response leaders and managers using the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

 IFSI accomplishes this task for MABAS-IL Special Operations Teams through regional training facilities throughout the State.  The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is responsible for developing the standardized course curriculum and the certification process. The training curriculum is aligned with the Illinois Homeland Security Strategy goals and objectives. Every year ten Special Operation Teams of the same discipline undergo a grueling validation process while working under one Incident Support Team. Special Operations Teams that require assistance are identified and the appropriate course of action is taken to correct deficiencies.

Special Operations teams are required to maintain training at regular intervals at the local Division level with local exercises. MABAS-IL encourages and financially supports regional training of multiple teams together.

Each Special Operations Team has been issued a minimum standard equipment cache. Special Team’s committees annually evaluate new technologies and current events to determine new equipment purchases. Equipment issued to the Special Operations Teams are standardized to enable interoperability between teams throughout the State of Illinois.    

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