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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the IL-HSAC?

The mission of the Illinois Homeland Security Advisory Council is to implement a comprehensive, coordinated strategy for domestic preparedness in the state of Illinois, bringing together agencies, organizations and associations representing all disciplines in the war against terrorism. Serving as an advisory body to the Governor, the Illinois Homeland Security Advisory Council provides statutory recommendations and guidance on homeland security laws, policies, protocol and procedures. Members of the council maintain an all-hazard approach to preparedness. The council continues to build upon a strong foundation of established working partnerships among federal, state, and local entities, their private and non-governmental partners, and the general public toward the facilitation and coordination of resources. For further information: IL-HSAC Organization
About the IL-HSAC

How is the IL-HSAC's membership determined?

Individuals are not named as members to the IL-HSAC. Membership on the IL-HSAC is open to governmental and non-governmental agencies, organizations and associations; private entities; and local governmental jurisdictions with populations of at least 100,000. Entities seeking membership on the IL-HSAC must make an official written request to the IL-HSAC Chair, clearly justifying why the entity should be included as a member and how adding the entity to the IL-HSAC would serve a capacity not already represented. The Chair will then seek the Governor's approval for an entity's permanent membership on the IL-HSAC. Federal agencies are prohibited from membership on the IL-HSAC, serving instead in an advisory capacity.

Are IL-HSAC meetings open to the public?

Yes. In accordance with the Open Meetings Act [5 ILCS 120], all Illinois Homeland Security Advisory Council full membership and committee meetings are open to the public. Meetings may be closed pursuant to the Open Meetings Act; however, no final actions may be taken.

How much U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding has Illinois received to date?

Since 1999, Illinois has received more than $1 billion in federal preparedness funding. For annual award and expenditure totals, please view the IL-HSAC Annual Report.

How many urban areas are located within Illinois? How does a jurisdiction within the urban area receive funding?

Illinois has one urban area-the Chicago area. The Chicago/Cook County region is among the 62 Urban Area Security Initiatives eligible to receive Urban Area Security Initiative funding. The Chicago/Cook funding priorities are determined by the Urban Area Working Group, chaired by the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communication and Cook County government.

What has the state done to improve interoperable communications?

In 2008, DHS approved Illinois' Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan. This plan provides a structure for local, regional and statewide communication during a major event. The backbone of this plan is the use of the Starcom21 network to provide multi-jurisdictional, multi-discipline interoperability. The IL-HSAC has purchased more than 3,000 Starcom21 radios for local jurisdictions to support this mission. Additionally, Illinois has offered every fire, law enforcement, public health and emergency management agency in the state a VHF radio to support tactical interoperability for local or regional events and has purchased over 200 MERCI radios for hospitals. To support communications surge needs, Illinois has placed 10 Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications Systems (ITECS) and 13 mobile command posts in strategic locations throughout the state. Each ITECS is capable of providing a cache of radios to support local communications needs.

What is the make-up of Illinois' mutual aid network?

Illinois has in place the most robust mutual aid system in the nation. This statewide mutual aid system provides a mechanism for local responding jurisdictions to be reimbursed for expenses; provides coverage for liability, workers compensation, and disability; and designates the responding individuals as state employees. With finite local urban and rural resources, both personnel and equipment, available to respond to an emergency, Illinois' statewide system provides mutual aid support beyond the traditional jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction agreements. Illinois has developed and strengthened a mutual aid system for fire, law enforcement, emergency management, and public health that makes available both personnel and equipment to support local, regional and statewide emergencies under a single command structure of the state of Illinois. A business mutual aid system is currently in development and will provide a public-private partnership for emergency preparedness and response.
Illinois' strong mutual aid system was evident during the state's response to Hurricane Katrina, when more than 900 firefighters, 300 law enforcement officers, nearly 20 emergency management professionals, and more than 50 medical personnel were activated and sent by the state to assist the Gulf Coast states.

Following is a list of Illinois' mutual aid organizations:

Mutual Aid Agreement between National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) and States
Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
Mutual Aid Agreements between Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Organizations
Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS)
Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS)
Combined Agency Response Team (CART)
Mutual Aid Response Network (MARN)
Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC)
Illinois Coroners and Medical Examiners Association (ICMEA)
Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network (IPWMAN)

Mutual Aid Agreements between Other State or Local Agencies and Organizations
Illinois Public Health Mutual Aid System (IPHMAS)
Illinois Emergency Management Mutual Aid System (IEMMAS)
Incident Management Team (IMT)

Response Asset of State or Local Agencies and Organizations
Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team (IMERT)
Illinois Nurses Volunteer Emergency Needs Team (INVENT)
Illinois Veterinary Emergency Response Team (IVERT)
Illinois Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (ILTERT)
Volunteer Management Support Team (VMST)
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)

I am a vendor; how can I do business with the state of Illinois?

The state of Illinois buys everything from food to rock salt to office furniture to consulting services. Since the state runs social service facilities, office buildings, garages, state parks and more, the state needs virtually everything consumers and businesses need. So chances are, we buy what you sell. For more information, follow these links: or

How can I learn more about Illinois' homeland security program?

The Illinois Homeland Security Advisory Council Annual Report provides an overview of the IL-HSAC's history, organization, and homeland security strategy. It also contains an update on the 16 committees' activities, accomplishments and recommendations.

What preparedness measures should my family and I take to prepare for an emergency?

The "Plan and Prepare" section of the Ready Illinois website contains comprehensive information about how to prepare you and your family for a disaster or emergency.
Click here for links to Illinois' radio and TV public service announcements.