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December 17, 2002

Governor Ryan Dedicates New Regional Emergency Dispatch Center
$1.8 million Illinois FIRST grant used to construct new RED Center to Improve Statewide Emergency Dispatch and Coordination

NORTHBROOK—Governor George H. Ryan today joined with local officials to dedicate the new Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED) Center in Northbrook. The RED Center is part of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) statewide mutual aid network and will improve the state of Illinois’ emergency response capabilities in the event a terrorist attack were to occur.

“Here in Illinois we’ve taken the lead nationally in Homeland Security planning; other states look to us as a model of where they want to be,” Governor Ryan said. “The new RED Center will increase our state’s dispatch coordination and control allowing for more efficient resource mobilization through the state’s Emergency Operations Center.”

Governor Ryan established the Illinois Terrorism Task Force in May of 2000. Recognizing the need for statewide coordination of Fire and EMS services in the event of a terrorist act, the state signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MABAS, establishing the first-ever statewide mutual aid network. MABAS includes approximately 750 of Illinois’ 1,200 fire departments and 25,000 of the state’s 42,000 firefighters. MABAS is routinely activated about 750 times a year when mutual assistance is required for multiple alarm fires, multiple victim EMS incidents, hazardous material spills or when technical rescue and recovery operations are needed.

The state-of-the-art RED Center will dispatch responses to an estimated 24,000 annual calls for local fire EMS and Special Operations emergencies. When the state emergency plan is activated the RED Center will become Illinois’ main asset for dispatching fire and EMS services throughout Illinois.

The new facility is approximately 4,000 square feet and built to Florida hurricane standards for sustainment and survivability. It includes multiple emergency electric back-ups, satellite based automatic vehicle locator system, fully integrated computer aided dispatch, records and data management systems.

The state is paying $1.8 million for the RED Center through Illinois FIRST. To date, Illinois FIRST has provided more than $182 million for Homeland Security efforts and equipment including: fire and police stations, breathing equipment, thermal imaging cameras, bullet proof vests, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, haz-mat response supplies, communications systems and other emergency equipment.


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