MABAS Box Alarm System

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KidClerk

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Our county fire departments (Newton Co.) are in discussions regarding implementing the MABAS box alarm system for fire dispatch. We've talked about this off and on for many years, and I have been one of the most vocal critics because I've never thought our dispatch center was capable of handling it. (they struggle with the most routine dispatches most of the time) I do hear it in use in Iroquois and Kankakee counties just over the Illinois state line from me, but I'm curious if there are any counties in Indiana that might be using it? We're talking about tagging onto Lake county's system or possibly devising our own. I think we'd be better served by coordinating it with Jasper than Lake myself. Are there any small, rural counties like mine that utilize it? Does it sound like it's working as it's designed to?

Thanks for any info anyone can share.
 

bigt512

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I know that the Munster fire department is part of mabas 24. which is the south-east suburbs of chicago. i am not sure how many other Indiana departments are in it. that may help you but not sure
 

AK9R

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Kyle, is your county using some sort of CAD system now? I would think that you'd want to have fairly seamless integration between your CAD and your FHAS.

I know that Hendricks County tried tying their CAD into a MOSCAD system on a SAFE-T talkgroup and wasn't happy with the result. I'm not sure what they are using now, but all of the FTO tones go out over the old VHF frequencies and only thing that comes out on their SAFE-T dispatch talkgroup is a single alert tone and the dispatcher's voice. I've heard that they are going to switch to the automated voice alert system that Marion County uses on MECA sometime this year.

I think Johnson County is also using MOSCAD, but I don't know how it's working out for them.
 

W9NES

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Hendricks County is using the old 154.130 for their paging.My old Plectron set up on 154.130 is still working fine. Johnson County is using 154.010 for their paging still fighting with Hamilton County on the same frequency.
 

KidClerk

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I don't believe we are utilizing a CAD system yet. There's been talk of it, but I've removed myself from dispatch and what goes on up there because I just get frustrated when I have to deal with them. I know there's a push on to go to a box alarm system and while I see a lot of benefits of it. I know like with any dispatch protocol, it's only as good as the people behind the microphone. If done properly and kept simple in a small county such as mine, it could be of benefit. Illinois has a nice MABAS website that I've found very useful.

Kyle, is your county using some sort of CAD system now? I would think that you'd want to have fairly seamless integration between your CAD and your FHAS.

I know that Hendricks County tried tying their CAD into a MOSCAD system on a SAFE-T talkgroup and wasn't happy with the result. I'm not sure what they are using now, but all of the FTO tones go out over the old VHF frequencies and only thing that comes out on their SAFE-T dispatch talkgroup is a single alert tone and the dispatcher's voice. I've heard that they are going to switch to the automated voice alert system that Marion County uses on MECA sometime this year.

I think Johnson County is also using MOSCAD, but I don't know how it's working out for them.
 

KidClerk

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My county fire association holds a license for this frequency but it is never used nor monitored by my county. MABAS isn't so much about frequencies as it is procedure. I was hoping some of you might hear it in use so I could find out how it was working. For those that don't know what MABAS is, it's a simplified way to request mutual aid for specific fire events, by utilizing predetermined responses recorded on 'cards'. You'd know it if you heard it because the initial dispatch would refer to 'Box card 1-300 to the still level" or something similar. Additional resources would be requested by striking additional levels to the 1st alarm, 2nd alarm, etc....

Last time I cheked 154.280 is availble State wide for Fire Mutral Aid and 154.280 is also monitored all across the state.
 

W9NES

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We do not have such a system here in Metro Indianapolis/Marion County.Everything is done on 800Mhz trunking with all the talkgroups for fire.154.280 is monitored across the state.If Newton County has a License for 154.280 you should check with the other counties around you to see if they have the same frequency and when you need mutral aid everyone can come over to 154.280 and talk with each other if you do not have Safe-t.A lot of Indiana counties still use analog systems for Police and Fire.If you are not on safe-t or cannot talk to another county fire department this would be the way to go as 154.280 is made for this use.I hear lifeline and Doveflight use this all the time for setting up Landing Zones at accidents where a AirEvac is requested.I would ask your Fire Chief or your person in charge of communications to set up a plan to monitor 154.280.All fire Departments across the state are to monitor the satewide mutual aid frequency of 154.280.All you have to do is call on 154.280 and someone in your area should answer you.
 

rdale

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The issue is not 154.280. MABAS has nothing to do with any particular frequency. Marion Co can be part of MABAS and still use 800.
 

W9NES

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No the issue is That 154.280 is AVAILABLE for this use and if they have a current FCC license for 154.280 they can use it for that purpose.Metro Indianapolis/Marion County is not a part of MABAS as that system is in IL. The poster said that* they do have a license for Newton County for 154.280 and 154.280 is used for Mutral aid*.Metro Indianapolis/Marion County does still use this frequency when others do not have 800Mhz talkgroups available.You might want to listen to it sometime and find out for yourself.154.280 is used for Fire Mutral aid and is monitored by all Fire Departments across the state of Indiana.Lifelline and Doveflight do use the 154.280 when they need to talk to others on the ground if the cannot get them on 800Mhz Safe-t.You might want to give 154.280 a listen.I keep 154.280 in my radio all the time here in the Communications Center all the time and get a lot of radio traffic on it because it is a* State wide Frequency which incudes the use of working with others on a mutural aid basis*
 
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KidClerk

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I'm sorry, but my question was about utilizing an organized box alarm system for mutual aid requests. Frequencies have nothing to do with it. The frequency is only appropriate after the department is dispatched, and MABAS is the procedure in which those departments are requested for assistance. I'll withdraw my original question.

Oh, and for the record, I am the fire chief and while there are licenses for 154.280 in the area, it is not used. Been monitoring it for years.
 
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AK9R

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For those that don't know what MABAS is, it's a simplified way to request mutual aid for specific fire events, by utilizing predetermined responses recorded on 'cards'. You'd know it if you heard it because the initial dispatch would refer to 'Box card 1-300 to the still level" or something similar.
Hendricks County and Marion County use the same CAD system, so the run "cards" programmed into the CAD already take mutual aid between the two counties into account. For example, if a run comes through for Avon Fire (Hendricks County) and they don't have sufficient units available, units from Wayne Township (Marion County) and other departments are automatically assigned to the run. The run "card" that the dispatcher sees on the screen lists the units that could be assigned to the run in order of priority and also indicates whether or not that unit is available. The dispatcher then makes a manual decision to assign units to the run from that list. Because the two CADs are linked, the dispatchers can see what units are available across county lines.

However, this is all very specific to the CAD that the two counties use. It sounds like MABAS is designed to link together dispatching systems from various agencies without being specific to any one dispatch system.
 

KidClerk

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Then I presume that 'card' also shows the next level of units to dispatch once the officer in charge makes the determination to request additional assistance at the next 'box' level. This keeps that officer from having to request which specific units he is wanting. He only has to request the next level or a new card and dispatch knows who to send based on that card.
 

W9NES

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For the Record 154.280 was developed for Fire Point to Point communications and also Mutual aid operations.If you are the chief of The Fire Department then maybe you could get a mutal aid network going on 154.280 and you already have a license for that frequency.You could talk to the Fire Chiefs in Jasper,Pulaski,Starke,Lake,Porter,Laporte Counties to start your own network.If they have a license for 154.280 then that is all you need.Someone in your dispatch should turn up the audio in dispatch to keep and ear out in the event someone does call in for help.154.280 could be used for this operation if you would set up some guidelines so everyone could work together and work as a team.You need to see up written guidelines for the use of the system.154.280 is monitored all across Indiana and that is why all the volunteer Firefighters have it in the radios in there pov's.154.280 could not only be used for Mutual aid but also for emergencies when the other channels are tied up with a current working incident.
 

AK9R

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Then I presume that 'card' also shows the next level of units to dispatch once the officer in charge makes the determination to request additional assistance at the next 'box' level.
That's a good question. When I toured Hendricks Dispatch, I don't remember that point being brought up. One would think that since the lower priority units are listed on the card, then the dispatcher could just continue working down the list if the IC asks for more assistance. On the other hand, I routinely hear ICs asking for specific equipment, e.g. ladder from here, tanker from there, etc.

I can see the value of what you are talking about. The IC shouldn't have to be bothered with where the assistance comes from. If the IC determines that they need more engines, ladders, tankers, medics, etc., they should be able to ask for them by type and let the dispatcher figure out where to get them.
 

chief52ptfd

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Mabas

Kid

There is a lot of good info on the MABAS webpage under downloads. Including box cards. I would look at the powerpoint program. Not sure if it is the same one i have seen here in Michigan but if it is, it has a lot good info on how the system works.
Box alram cards are becoming the "wave of the future". Making interstate and intrastate MA easier for EOC's. We have gone to a similar thing here, and it works really well. Also flexable enough to allow for "special requests".
I know there are area's in SW lower MI (St. Joesph area) that are members of MABAS.
Good luck on your info hunt (when in doubt GOOGLE).

MABAS link:

Welcome To MABAS
 

W9NES

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This could all be taken care of in Northwest Indiana(Newton Co and all Fire Departments in the area of this poster) if all Emergency Responce Units would have the abilty to communicate with each other in the field by using 154.280. That is what is is made for.What I do not understand is that if the poster is The Fire Chief of The deparment then why does he not have his dispatch monitor 154.280 as the poster advised that they have a FCC license for 154.280 but he has not heard anything on it.Maybe the poster needs to get in touch with all the surrounding Fire Departments and let them know of what he wants to do.The First step is to have is Dispatch monior 154.280 on a 24/7 365 basis.Granted he has a dispatch and the dispatcher would just have to turn up the audio on dispatch and let the others know that *Someone was listening*Marion County Rual Fire Service who is no longer around which is now IFD communications was monitoring 154.280 Fire Point to Point and they would ID on the Hour.I was also heaing Wayne Township along with Brownsburg and others who were all on VHF at that time working with each other way before MECA of safe-t was even thought of.154.280 will work if it is used as a communcations tool for Emergency Communications.Ask any Volunteer Firefighter who has 154.280 is his Pov(His truck, car).I have heard numerious Volunteers calling for help on 154.280 and someone has answered them and got them help.It it is a matter of life and death with a serious PI with entrapment and you are the only one on the scene with no one else to help you I think this would be a great idea for all FireDepartment Dispatch Points to monitor 154.280.This is like *The Indiana State Police Post Dist 13 Lowell post for years would have a monitor for 155.340 for IHERN.If a dispatcher was hearing a ambulance calling a hospital and they did not answer the dispatcher would call the hospital and tell there ER to get on the radio to answer the ambulance on the way to the hospital.That was the way it was done in Northwest Indiana for years until Safe-t was developed* If you would have a dispatcher in front of the 154.280 operating position you would be able to take care of request for Mutural Aid for a Tanker, Engine, Ambulance, squad, or a Tactical Rescue Team to assist another department.
 

usswood

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This could all be taken care of in Northwest Indiana(Newton Co and all Fire Departments in the area of this poster) if all Emergency Responce Units would have the abilty to communicate with each other in the field by using 154.280. That is what is is made for.What I do not understand is that if the poster is The Fire Chief of The deparment then why does he not have his dispatch monitor 154.280 as the poster advised that they have a FCC license for 154.280 but he has not heard anything on it.Maybe the poster needs to get in touch with all the surrounding Fire Departments and let them know of what he wants to do.The First step is to have is Dispatch monior 154.280 on a 24/7 365 basis.Granted he has a dispatch and the dispatcher would just have to turn up the audio on dispatch and let the others know that *Someone was listening*Marion County Rual Fire Service who is no longer around which is now IFD communications was monitoring 154.280 Fire Point to Point and they would ID on the Hour.I was also heaing Wayne Township along with Brownsburg and others who were all on VHF at that time working with each other way before MECA of safe-t was even thought of.154.280 will work if it is used as a communcations tool for Emergency Communications.Ask any Volunteer Firefighter who has 154.280 is his Pov(His truck, car).I have heard numerious Volunteers calling for help on 154.280 and someone has answered them and got them help.It it is a matter of life and death with a serious PI with entrapment and you are the only one on the scene with no one else to help you I think this would be a great idea for all FireDepartment Dispatch Points to monitor 154.280.This is like *The Indiana State Police Post Dist 13 Lowell post for years would have a monitor for 155.340 for IHERN.If a dispatcher was hearing a ambulance calling a hospital and they did not answer the dispatcher would call the hospital and tell there ER to get on the radio to answer the ambulance on the way to the hospital.That was the way it was done in Northwest Indiana for years until Safe-t was developed* If you would have a dispatcher in front of the 154.280 operating position you would be able to take care of request for Mutural Aid for a Tanker, Engine, Ambulance, squad, or a Tactical Rescue Team to assist another department.
let it go...your way off track!!!
 

jerk

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let me see... I need help so i should program 154.280 and 'hope" someone hears me, when no one else monitors it.

Or just call 911 and let dispatch notify all the dispatch centers and page out help.
I know which one I'll use.

Usswood is right let it go.
 
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