Posts Tagged Illinois Task Force 1

Illinois Task Force 1 deployed after Hurricane Florence

Excerpts from the

A team of 15 firefighters with the Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Team deployed to North Carolina after Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14. A federal disaster was declared for the state that day. The storm lingered for several days. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, and steady rains left many towns deep underwater. Emergency personnel from across the country were sent to help.

Illinois Task Force 1 is composed of firefighters from departments participating in a statewide disaster response program. Ten suburban firefighters were part of the North Carolina deployment. They came from Wauconda, Wheeling, Arlington Heights, Downers Grove, Morton Grove, Alsip, Matteson, Naperville, and Rolling Meadows. Firefighters from Chicago and Bettendorf, Iowa, were part of the task force, too.

The group departed Sept. 14 from the MABAS headquarters in Wheeling in a convoy hauling boats, generators, and other equipment. It arrived the next afternoon at an emergency operations center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was sent to a small town called Whiteville. The team reached Whiteville on Sept. 16 but was redeployed to Riegelwood, an unincorporated community closer to the coastline and near the Cape Fear River, which overflowed its banks because of the hurricane.

The local Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire Rescue station was running on a generator when the team arrived — and it was packed with people including several of the displaced firefighters’ families. A National Guard unit and other emergency response personnel set up in the station, too. 

The Illinois group got to work locating stranded residents and getting them to the fire station so they could be taken out of the area by the National Guard. The firefighters also distributed water, food and supplies, checked on people with health issues, and helped put tarps on the roofs of damaged houses.

They often traveled in a military surplus truck that carried an inflatable, motorized boat. When they reached a spot where the water was too deep for the truck, they launched the boat. Some houses were on dry land but surrounded by flooded streets and property. Others became submerged, some to the roofline.

Members of the local fire department accompanied them since they knew the area and the people — as well as the potential dangers from local wildlife. The work was long and strenuous. Fifteen-hour days were common, as were calls at night.

One day they rescued an older couple trapped in a submerged car that had been washed off a road. Firefighters broke a window and pulled the woman out of the car.

The Illinois task force returned home Sept. 26. 

Tags: , ,

Open House for MABAS (update)

A few images from the MABAS Home Day Open House last week at the readiness center warehouse in Wheeling.

MABAS Readiness Center Open House

Many area fire chiefs and other officers attended the open house at the MABAS Readiness Center in Wheeling on Friday. There were several presenters who discussed different topics. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Open House Congressman Peter Roskam

Congressman Peter Roskam addressed the fire service personnel. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Open House - Mobile Field Office

The readiness center is packed full of various unique support units like this Mobile Field Office with slide-out sides to increase the interior working space. This is one of three such units. It is designated as MSU-North or Mission Support Unit for the north region. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Open House

A sign describes the Mission Support Unit. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Open House - Oshkosh P-16

The newest addition to the MABAS specialized units is this 8×8 Oshkosh P-15 that was surplussed from the Air Force. It is one of the largest crash trucks ever built and carries 6,000 gallons of water and 600 gallons of AFFF. It has two 1,500-GPM pumps and two turrets rated at 1,250-GPM each. The unit is not currently in service and the exact nature of it’s anticipated use has not yet been outlined. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Illinois Task Force 1

The warehouse is also home to Illinois Task Force 1 (ILTF-1), the state US&R team. “IL-US&R TF-1 is an asset of MABAS-IL and serves as the State of Illinois’ Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Taskforce #1.” One side of the facility houses the resources for this team. Larry Shapiro photo

MABAS Readiness Center Illinois Task Force 1

The newest addition to the mobile equipment for the US&R team is this flatbed roll-off for lumber. Larry Shapiro photo


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,