Mutual Aid Box Alarm System

What is it?

MABAS is a mutual aid system, which has been in existence since the late 1960s.  Pre September 11th, MABAS was heavily rooted throughout northern Illinois. Since September 11th, MABAS has rapidly grown throughout the State of Illinois and Wisconsin, and parts of Indiana, Iowa and Missouri. Day-to-day MABAS extra alarms are systematically designed to provide speed of response of emergency resources to the stricken community during an ongoing emergency. Declaration of Disasters are not required for routine, MABAS system activation’s. Today MABAS includes approximately 1,100 of the states 1,200 fire departments organized within 62 divisions.  MABAS divisions geographically span an area from Lake Michigan to Iowa’s border and south almost into Kentucky. Eight Wisconsin divisions also share MABAS with their Illinois counterparts. The cities of Chicago, St. Louis, and Milwaukee are also MABAS member agencies. Interest is also becoming evident from the Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan.



MABAS includes over 37,000 of Illinois’ 40,000 firefighters who staff emergency response units including more than 1,300 fire stations, 1,800 engine companies, 389 ladder trucks, 831 ambulances (mostly paramedic capable), 278 heavy rescue squads, and 647 water tankers.  Fire/EMS reserve (back-up) units account for more than 1,000 additional emergency vehicles.



MABAS also offers specialized operations teams for hazardous materials, underwater rescue/recovery, technical rescue and incident management teams.  An additional element of resource are the certified fire investigators which can be “packaged” as teams for larger incidents



For more information about MABAS…Please visit