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   Frequently Asked Questions  


Illinois Terrorism Task Force - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the ITTF?
  2. How is the ITTF's membership determined?
  3. Are ITTF meetings open to the public?
  4. How much U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding has Illinois received to date?
  5. How does the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) determine who receives funding and how much goes to local governments?
  6. How many urban areas are located within Illinois? How does a jurisdiction within the urban area receive funding?
  7. What has the state done to improve interoperable communications?
  8. How do I apply for grant funding through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force?
  9. What is the make-up of Illinois' mutual aid network?
  10. I am a vendor; how can I do business with the state of Illinois?
  11. How can I learn more about Illinois' homeland security program?
  12. What preparedness measures should my family and I take to prepare for an emergency?
Q: What is the purpose of the ITTF?
A: The mission of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force 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 Terrorism Task Force provides statutory recommendations and guidance on homeland security laws, policies, protocol and procedures. Members of the task force maintain an all-hazard approach to preparedness. The task force 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:
Q: How is the ITTF's membership determined?
A: Individuals are not named as members to the ITTF. Membership on the ITTF 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 ITTF must make an official written request to the ITTF Chair, clearly justifying why the entity should be included as a member and how adding the entity to the ITTF would serve a capacity not already represented. The Chair will then seek the Governor's approval for an entity's permanent membership on the ITTF. Federal agencies are prohibited from membership on the ITTF, serving instead in an advisory capacity
Q: Are ITTF meetings open to the public?
A: Yes. In accordance with the Open Meetings Act [5 ILCS 120], all Illinois Terrorism Task Force 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.
Q: How much U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding has Illinois received to date?
A: Since 1999, Illinois has received more than $1 billion in federal preparedness funding. For annual award and expenditure totals, please view the 2012 ITTF Annual Report.
Q: How does the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) determine who receives funding and how much goes to local governments?
A: Each year, the ITTF's 16 committees make budget proposals to maintain existing programs and fund new initiatives. The full ITTF - which geographically represents the entire state and includes more than 60 agencies, associations and organizations that represent all of the major first-responder disciplines (police, fire, emergency management and public health) - then votes on a budget plan to utilize the homeland security funding.

Rather than allocating the funding using a block grant formula, the ITTF develops a statewide strategy and uses the funding in support of that strategy. The result is a coordinated statewide homeland security strategy as opposed to 102 different strategies. It is an approach that has been cited by federal auditors as a best practice and has resulted in standardized equipment, an interoperable communications system, and the training of special response teams that serve all regions of the state. By federal rule, the state must pass a minimum of 80 percent of its federal homeland security funding on to local units of government in the form of grants, equipment and training.

Q: How many urban areas are located within Illinois? How does a jurisdiction within the urban area receive funding?
A: 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.
Q: What has the state done to improve interoperable communications?
A: 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 ITTF 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.
Q: How do I apply for grant funding through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force?
A: To learn about potential funding, please review the funding opportunities detailed under the Grants section of this website. Additionally, first responder organizations should work through their disciplines' mutual aid organizations, i.e. ILEAS for law enforcement, MABAS for fire, and IESMA for emergency management. The ITTF prioritizes funding for projects identified by its 16 committees.
Q: What is the make-up of Illinois' mutual aid network?
A: 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)

Q: I am a vendor; how can I do business with the state of Illinois?
A: 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: www.sell2.illinois.gov or www.Illinois.gov/government.
Q: How can I learn more about Illinois' homeland security program?
A: The Illinois Terrorism Task Force Annual Report provides an overview of the ITTF's history, organization, and homeland security strategy. It also contains an update on the 16 committees' activities, accomplishments and recommendations.
Q: What preparedness measures should my family and I take to prepare for an emergency?
A: The "Before" section of the Ready Illinois website contains comprehensive information about how to prepare you and your family for a disaster or emergency.

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