WOOD COUNTY, WI (OnFocus) – Since 2004, MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) has helped Wisconsin firefighting efforts respond collaboratively to emergency situations.
An organization that is utilized across much of the upper Midwest, the design of the MABAS organization is to provide fire departments with a rapid and standardized way of calling for mutual aid during an emergency incident.
“The responding departments, equipment and personnel are planned out ahead of time so that the appropriate resources are being dispatched to the emergency incident but yet allowing each department to keep enough resources home to respond if there is another incident in their response area,” explained Jason Schad, Relief Lieutenant at Marshfield Fire & Rescue.
There are many benefits of MABAS for fire departments and the communities they serve. These include:
- Each department is able to pre-plan resources they will need with each alarm and creates less work for the IC when they are under the extreme stress of a fire.
- The fire departments that are being requested for mutual aid are only asked to respond with specific apparatus. This allows for those departments to keep personnel and apparatus available to respond to any additional calls for help in their community.
“For example, if Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department has a working fire, we will call for a box alarm,” said Schad. “Dispatch will page out Hewitt Fire Department for one engine, Central RIT/Rehab, Marshfield Utilities and WE Energies to respond to the fire scene. In addition, all off-duty MFRD personnel are notified and may respond to the fire station.”
A target hazard is considered a location that if an incident would occur, MFRD resources would quickly become overwhelmed.
“MFRD has identified several large multi-family facilities as a target hazard because of the number of residents residing in the structure,” said Schad. “A fire at one of these locations would require additional personnel and apparatus to provide rescues and in a worst-case scenario there would be a need for additional ambulances. MABAS allows us to create a card that will call in the needed resources such as aerial trucks, engines, ambulances and personnel with one call to dispatch.”
Nineteen departments participate in Wood County MABAS. These departments include:
- Grand Rapids
- Port Edwards
- Wisconsin Rapids
MABAS is implemented on just about every fire in Wood County.
“During any active structure fire within the city we utilize our MABAS card,” said Schad. “An example would be last summer we had a single-family residential fire on West 4th St. When we arrived, there was fire showing from the front window. The incident commander called for a box alarm. This will dispatch Hewitt FD to the scene with an engine, Central RIT and Rehab, WE Energies and Marshfield Utilities.”
With the many challenges facing firefighting, MABAS is a system that helps ensure a quick and effective emergency response in the event of an incident. Volunteers are always needed to assist local departments. If interested, contact your local volunteer department today!
To learn more, visit the WC MABAS 116 website here.
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