No hitches during mutual aid exercise in Chicago

Published:  03 September, 2010

A first-of-its-kind mutual-aid training exercise designed to demonstrate the feasibility of dispatching, mobilising and deploying hundreds of emergency vehicles and personnel during a state-wide incident came off without a hitch last week during a timed demonstration broadcast live over the Internet.

The multi-location exercise was organized by MABAS, the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System of Illinois. Held simultaneously on Thursday the 26th of August in three suburban Chicago communities – Tinley Park, Glenview and Hoffman Estates – the drill coincided with Fire-Rescue International (FRI) 2010, held this year at Chicago's McCormick Place.


During the timed demonstration, 297 fire engines and EMS vehicles along with 924 firefighters from four US states were successfully dispatched, checked in, validated, and demobilized. The massive amount of resources responded, arrived on scene and were identified within 90 minutes. Within just the first 45 minutes, 736 of the firefighters with Tier 2 credential cards were processed, with all 924 processed in 70 minutes.


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, keynote speaker at FRI's opening session on Thursday, viewed the ground-breaking exercise live on closed-captioned TV from McCormick Place. Local Chicago media covered the event as it unfolded:,0,6925446.story


Several industry leaders were instrumental in the success of the MABAS-led exercise, including Traverse City, Mich.-based Salamander Technologies (Sal-Tech), which provided several automated tracking solutions from their InterTRAX suite of products, including: 

MOBILE PIV software to validate the Tier 2 credentials and sync data

  • Operation Florian

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