Michigan Fire Departments plan big emergency preparedness exercise

Hundreds of firefighters from around Michigan will take part in an emergency preparedness exercise on the heels of the 12th anniversary of 9/11. The Michigan Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) exercise will test communications systems and coordination efforts of a statewide call out of fire departments. MABAS will begin the mutual aid exercise at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

Locally, fire resources from the two Oakland County MABAS Divisions, one MABAS Division from Wayne County, and one Livingston County Division will begin arriving at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., in Novi about 9:30 a.m. Sunday. They will stage until late morning when the exercise concludes.

“Preparedness saves lives,” said MABAS President William Nelson, who also serves as the fire chief in Troy, Mich. “The statewide MABAS test is an opportunity to see what we do right and to learn what we can do better should we ever have to respond to an incident that requires mutual aid from around Michigan.”

Fourteen MABAS divisions will take part in the exercise. Fire departments in each division will respond to staging areas in their own regions. A total of about 300 firefighters will respond to the MABAS exercise that will include 14 engine strike teams totaling 70 fire engines and 14 command vehicles.

The exercise is funded by a grant from the Urban Areas Security Initiative or UASI.


MABAS is a user-driven system designed to streamline requesting and providing emergency and fire services resources across Michigan and the Great Lakes Region for events such as major fires, train derailments, tornadoes, hazardous materials incidents, wild fires, domestic or foreign terrorism and other events that may overwhelm a local fire department. Michigan joins several Midwest states that have implemented the MABAS program. Within Michigan, there are more than 200 member fire departments, an Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, Hazardous Material Response Teams and an Incident Management Team.

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