If you happen to see a number of fire vehicles near the Dempster Street Beach Thursday evening, don’t be alarmed.  Chances are, it will be MABAS Division 3 practicing night time rescue operations.

MABAS, which stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, is a partnership of 17 area fire departments that help each other whenever a major fire or rescue operation requires extra assistance.

That’s why, whenever a major fire breaks out in Evanston, you see equipment from Wilmette, Skokie, and as far away as Park Ridge, engaged in fighting the blaze.

And firefighters that work together also train together to focus on different operations.

Thursday, from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., the Evanston Fire Department Dive Rescue Team will be conducting a MABAS joint training exercise with area fire departments, Evanston Lifeguards, and Chicago Fire Department Air and Sea Rescue.

The drills will focus on the location and rescue of stranded boaters or swimmers in dusk and nighttime conditions.

These types of training opportunities give MABAS departments the ability to pool their personnel and resources together in order to accomplish the mission faster and more efficiently.

Water-based operations are extremely technical and only successful when agencies work together, fire officials contend.

So feel free to bring the kids and stop by to watch the action. Just be sure to stay out of their way.

And don’t be surprised if one of your kids decides he or she wants to become a firefighter.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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