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14th Annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day a Huge Success

June 7, 2019

The 14th annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day was held Friday, June 7th at the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) Readiness Center in Wheeling, IL. With almost 150 attendees including fire chiefs from 48 different departments, congressional staffers, as well as FAMA and FEMSA member companies, the event was a huge success in advancing issues important to the fire service.

Fifteen companies participated in the event with displays for their equipment including the following FAMA and FEMSA member companies: CE Niehoff, Paratech, Firehouse Cygnus, Federal Signal, Groves Inc., Restore Construction, Medline, Haas Alert, Conway Shields, MES Municipal Emergency Services, Minuteman Services, Flow MSP, TEMCO, Reliable Fire, and W.S. Darley & Co.

We had thirteen congressional staffers in attendance representing Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Congressmen Garcia, Casten, Krishnamoorthi, Quigley, Schakowsky, and Kinzinger offices.

Speakers included Chief Mark Puknaitis, President of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Vikki Hanson, FEMA Fire Program Specialist, and Glenn Ericksen, CEO of MABAS.

Paul Darley, Co-Chairman of the event, served as the emcee. He addressed the congressional staffers, saying, “This day is about you, and we ask that you carry home the following messages:

  1. Thank you for your reauthorization of the AFG & SAFER programs
  2. We need your continued support and ask that congress continue to increase.
  3. Please join the Congressional Fire Services Caucus

Following the event, Hannah Amundsen, a staffer who attended the event wrote, “Thank you for including us. Could you please share with all relevant parties that Congressman Krishnamoorthi will be joining the Congressional Fire Caucus?”

Jay Reardon, former MABAS CEO announced a new MABAS Foundation that was being formed based on a lack of federal funding.  Paul Darley pledged that the Darley Family Foundation was donating $25,000 to the newly formed MABAS Foundation in the name of William J. Darley.

After formal presentations, staffers then had the opportunity to operate rescue tools and other firefighting equipment, as well as tour the 25,000 sq. ft facility that houses specialized fire and rescue equipment.

Plans already are underway for next year’s 15th Annual Illinois Fire Service Home Day.