Thread: Mabas

  1. #1
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    Default Mabas

    How does everyone feel about MABAS (mutual aid box alarm system)?
    I am a part of the MABAS 104 Division and I feel that it is a good tool for the larger cities but it is not well utilized and structured for the smaller communities.

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    MABAS is the most effective and comprehensive mutual aid system I have seen or heard of nationwide. It ain't the end-all-be-all, but sure helps.

    For those small communities you refer to, I believe the shortcomings are operational, that is, the small towns and FPDs are stuck in 1980. "This is the way we've always done it." "Why do we need to call everybody else in for our fires?" It's an unwillingness to change their culture, or, if they have adopted it, to practiced what they've implemented.

    Two departments in my division had to be dragged in kicking and screaming. One still has not submitted box cards, three years after entering the division; they still don't have IFERN in their radios. Why? Because of the ostrich approach. It ain't happened here, it ain't gonna happen here, and I've got other things to worry about. Mostly, their shortsightedness for the effective use of MABAS is the bigger stumbling block.

    MABAS started in the late '60s in the Chicago suburbs. It has spread to include the entire metropolitan area, areas west along the Mississippi, centrallly around Peoria, parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and the St. Louis area. Why? 'Cause it works, when you work it.
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    Exclamation It does work

    Here in southwest Michigan we call it MAARS. Mutual Aid Alarm Response System. This is a primarily rural area and the system works because the departments make it work. Each department designates what equipment they want on different levels. i.e. Second Alarm area 1, engines and ladders. Second alarm area two tankers and draft units. The system also includes moving units to cover stations responding on mutual aid. Central dispatch has the book and can dispatch whatever the IC requests. Each department is responsibe for haveing a chart or something so they know what they are supposed to rerespond with. No more piece meal approach. The IC just tells dispatch "I need a second (or third, fourth, etc.) alarm for area one.

    Works good here.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

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    Two departments in my division had to be dragged in kicking and screaming. Why? Because of the ostrich approach. It ain't happened here, it ain't gonna happen here, and I've got other things to worry about.
    two words.....

    [size=huge]
    ADDITIONAL
    RESOURCES!
    [/size]

    Now pull their heads out the "rectal sand" and make then see the light!

    Here in Massachusetts, the State is broken up into 14 fire districts and six hazmat districts. Each Fire district has run cards set up to dispatch resources up to 10 alarms for each community. If additional resources are required, the Department of Fire Services Statewide Fire Mobilization Plan is put into effect. DFS operates an Incident Support Unit, a complete mobile command post that is housed at the Massachusetts Fire Academy can be anywhere in the state within a three hour timeframe and an additonal ISU that is set up in a trailer and can be towed to an incident location for multiple incidents, etc.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-25-2003 at 05:03 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default ??

    I don't know much about the mutual aid system, just the basics really. My department uses something we call the MAMMAS plan. I guess it is the same, can anyone possibly clarify or is it just the same thing?

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    I think MABAS works very well by me. I am on the three specialty teams, Dive, Haz Mat, and TRT and we work better as a group then any one town could work alone. I may have a bit of a bias but as the vice-chair of the division dive team I can say that everyone has a voice Vol, Full time, large and small. I could care less a good idea is just that a good idea.
    Now I also know not every division gets along like 12 does but overall I think MABAS works

  7. #7
    GFDSlappyRob
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    I think it works very well, because it stops confusion between dispatches, and depts. By the way Geneva Fire Dept. is part of MABAS Division 13.

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    I totaly agree about the smaller communities being back in the 1980's yet.....and it will get a firefighter killed. I like the fact that we can have MABAS and use it......however, it has alot of "Bugs" that need to be worked out. The most serious bug is communication. My division 104 wants to now change 3 of the communication channels names(north tac, south tac, firegroud) to red, white and blue. This is good to simplify BUT we have communities comming in from different counties who dont know this or who dont have the same channels that we operate on.

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    I think MABUS is a great tool. I am in an area in central illinois were MABUS hasn't arrived yet. Our area consist of fire districts which mostly contain small towns and rural areas. A lot of the districts think along the lines of what good is it? I saw an instance the other day which would have been better handle if we ha a Mabus system. A neighboring district had a large mansiion type structure on fire in a rural area wit no piped water supply. the command of the scene started calling for tankers from neighboring districts. all totaled 12 neighboring districts hauled water to this fire. my concern at the time was that every tanker in a 1500 square mile area was at this scene. Wow! what a hole in the coverage.could have been better staggered with mabus.

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    The channel change is annother MABAS benefit, although some people don't see it that way.

    You have Tac1, Tac2, etc. We had had FG1, FG2, etc. The neighbors to the east had their own fireground channel. If we go south, they run on UHF. The neighbors to the north have another system yet.
    Scenario: I call a MABAS box, get all these people together. I've got a roof sector, interior sector, water supply sector, staging sector, RIT, rescue, and rehab. Can't run all those companies and assignments on IFERN. So I tell interior to go to FG1, water supply and staging to go to FG2, and RIT, recue, and REHAB to go to BRFG1. But the guys from the east don't call those channels that. And the guys from north have differnt names yet.

    The MABAS executive board solved this problem by resolving that all MABAS members will stop using their own, separate fireground channels, and use the color designated channels to describe specific frequencies. For example, Fireground Red is 153.830. It's the same here as it is in Kane County, Kendall, Cook, Stephenson, Henry, etc. No matter where we go, or who comes to us, Fireground Red is FG red; same with the other colors. Not everybody has switched over yet, but it's coming.

    Again, the resistance here is all the chiefs out there with their little fifedoms, not wanting to have somebody else "tell me how to run my department." Whatever. When you have a box and can't communicate with anybody, because nobody know what frequency your "Fireground" channel is, maybe then you'll understand.
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    Default MABAS

    The State of Wisconsin has applied for a statewide license of all the MABAS radio frequencies. That would enable everyone in my state to be able to communicate with each other, per the MABAS Advocacy Statements. This would be in addition to frequencies already in the state plan. It also opens up all those in the State of Illinois who have the MABAS frequencies programed in their radios to be communicated with, I believe over 750 departments. When someone tells you go to VHF MABAS RED Fireground, it will be the same for everyone. Isn't this is the true interoperability that the fire service has been looking for?

    MABAS isn't just an "ILLINOIS THING" anymore. It is already the largest Mutual Aid organization for the fire service in the State of Wisconsin. It doesn't care if your delievery of service is paid, volunteer, or combination. Control is at the local level and no one is forced to do anything that they disagree with; you either agree or disagree to respond when presented with someone else's Box Alarm Card. Your own emergencies come first, as they should. If you can't respond you take "A Pass". True, it isn't perfect, but appears to be the best thing going that I have seen and it gets better the more that you train and use it.

    Stay Safe

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    Cool

    Our mutual aid system consists of the refineries. It is called IMAS (Industrial Mutual Aid System). Since we have to respond inside the refineries in town.

    Mark

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    Lightbulb One Question.............

    What took you so long?? We've been doing this in Prince Georges County Maryland since 1930. (No, Jay, I wasn't there) We started with establishing MINIMUM standards for equipment, and, over time, created a County wide dispatch system that was, reportedly, the first in America. Other surrounding counties quickly followed suit, and today it is still a good system. As several have pointed out, some Chiefs STILL don't get it though. No jurisdiction is large enough to be free of mutual aid needs, 9-11-01 proved that point. Stay Safe....
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