Box alarm system, a useful tool for fire districts

By Beau Ebenezer

Credit: Matt Swaney, Normal Fire Department

Box alarm system, a useful tool for fire districts

January 3, 2013 Updated Oct 15, 2013 at 6:29 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- While Peoria and West Peoria officials are discussing whether Peoria's Fire Department will take on duties of West Peoria, fire districts in the county are working under a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System or MABAS.

This system allows for fire districts to request the help of other departments, if needed.

Officials say MABAS allows them to pre-program which departments they want to go to each call.

"When we have a call and we decide we need it, we don't have to think. We just call the box and people are coming. You can go on about doing other chores and don't have to sit and think about, did I call them, didn't I call them," said Limestone Township Fire Chief Terry Capps.

"They can call us up anytime they want to or need to. Same thing with East Peoria. We go to East Peoria probably more than anywhere else we go in the county," said Peoria Fire Chief Kent Tomblin.

No decision has been made yet on whether Peoria will add their services to West Peoria full time.

As of now, they both operate under the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, which can ask for assistance during any call.