Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Illinois team heads to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Ida rescues

CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday that a 46-member urban search and rescue team will deploy to Louisiana to aid in water rescues caused by life-threatening flash flooding and dangerous storm surges caused by Hurricane Ida.

These first responders hail from the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) IL-Task Force 1 from northern Illinois and are made up of members from various fire departments throughout the state. The team will be deployed to the affected area for 16 days.

The rescue teams work alongside local rescuers to conduct search, rescue, and recovery missions for humans and animals in flooded environments. In addition, the team is capable of providing on-the-spot emergency medical care, emergency transportation for medical necessities and supports helicopter rescue operations in water environments.

“Illinois is ready to help our fellow Americans, and Hurricane Ida is doing untold damage in Louisiana,” Pritzker said. “This life-threatening storm is creating extremely dangerous conditions for residents who did not evacuate and Louisiana’s first responders. Illinois’ brave first responders are well-trained and will work alongside local rescue teams in the coming days to provide essential support for affected residents.”

Requests for assistance are coordinated through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement that allows states to request assistance from other states during emergencies. Officials from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been in regular contact with EMAC representative and are currently reviewing the anticipated needs drafted by the state of Louisiana and neighboring states.

The MABAS team will depart Monday morning from Wheeling after receiving event identification, mission and safety briefings and mobilization assistance. This process ensures the accountability and readiness of personnel and state assets prior to departure. All costs associated with these deployments will be paid for by Louisiana.

Illinois, and its public safety agencies, stand ready to provide assistance in response to further EMAC requests as the Gulf Coast and southern states responds to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Featured image: Character Vectors by Vecteezy

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