Michigan House Republicans
Rep. BeGole working to provide clarity for vital emergency response system
RELEASE|May 15, 2024
Contact: Brian BeGole

State Rep. Brian BeGole, of Antrim Township, testified Tuesday before a House committee on his proposal which will help save lives and assist people in emergency situations.

BeGole’s bill, House Bill 5341, allows emergency vehicles from the Michigan Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) to operate with red, white, yellow and green lights on the way to an emergency and on site at an emergency to help improve response time and notify other drivers that these vehicles contain emergency personnel who are trying to assist people or communities in need. 

“These are vehicles that are meant for emergency response or rescue operations and they’re often coming from several communities or counties away,” BeGole said. “There should be a designation with lights so that people who are operating on our highways and roadways know that these are response vehicles trying to get to a destination as soon as possible and first responders operating them have a clear path to that destination.

“With the immense importance of public safety and the advancement of emergency response and coordination, this is a current gap in our transportation laws that should be shored up.”

MABAS is a statewide mutual aid agreement that coordinates intrastate and interstate mobilization of fire, emergency medical services, and special operations resources during natural and man-made emergencies or disasters. Through this mutual aid, MABAS has the capability to provide emergency response locally or statewide when resources are needed and requested by a neighboring community.

“With the cost of resources these days, a big benefit to the agreement is allowing multiple communities to share those resources – whether it’s a ladder truck for several communities or specialized rescue teams. When communities can come together with these resources, they can have quite the force,” said Trent Atkins, who joined BeGole for testimony before the House Transportation Committee and serves as executive director of MABAS and emergency management coordinator for Shiawassee County.

In the last few years, the agreement has helped with emergency response for a tornado that impacted Gaylord in 2022, the Midland dam failure and flood in 2020, an active shooter event on the campus of Michigan State University in 2023, and multiple other instances that required a larger presence.

Atkins said that during the response to the Gaylord tornado, officials had to contact the state’s Emergency Operations Center to inform them that several unmarked vehicles would be traveling at higher rates of speed up I-75 to reach the impacted area. Having emergency lights on vehicles that are responding to an emergency would provide clarity for future events.

BeGole’s House Bill 5341 remains under consideration in the House Transportation Committee. Accompanying legislation would allow MABAS employees to operate authorized emergency vehicles without a Commercial Driver’s License if they have met driving standards under the Firefighters Training Council Act. The requirement is currently an obstacle for recruiting and retaining emergency personnel who have relevant experience in operating these vehicles.

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PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Brian BeGole (right) testifies on House Bill 5341 before the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, May 14. BeGole was joined for testimony by Trent Atkins, who serves as executive director of the Michigan Mutual Aid Box Alarm System and emergency management coordinator for Shiawassee County.

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