DeKalb to join emergency aid network

By Ali Combs

DeKalb will soon be a member of the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network (IPWMAN) which allows the city access to local and state aid in the event of emergency.

The IPWMAN, of which the City Council voted to become a member at a Feb. 11 meeting, provides a standard for small governmental bodies to use to request and organize help from other members of the network in the case of a disaster, like a tornado or flooding. The IPWMAN website,, lists 130 members other than DeKalb located throughout the state of Illinois.

T.J. Moore director of DeKalb Public Works, said DeKalb’s membership dues for IPWMAN will be $250.

When a member responds to a request for aid through IPWMAN, they are to pay for any costs of supplying aid. This includes workers’ wages, costs of operating equipment and any travel involved. In some cases, the city may be reimbursed for the costs of helping in a disaster.

“FEMA has disaster relief funding and if the president orders a federal declaration of disaster, this agreement allows us to be potentially paid back by FEMA,” Moore said. “This agreement is really just a legal framework that sets up rules for how we would respond to disaster for other member and how we would receive help.”

Moore said although agreements like the one with IPWMAN are not integral to basic city operations, a network like this is helpful in case of local disasters.

“A disaster can occur in any community, and no community can always be prepared for these things,” said Mayor Kris Povlsen. “This allows a community to move forward with a quicker clean up process.”

First ward alderman David Jacobson said the network will help cover all the bases in an emergency for DeKalb.

“In the fire department or police department, another local agency could respond if they are needed,” Jacobson said. “It’s not the same with this kind of situation, and this sets up a standard form for members to follow as far as who pays for what. It’s really just a good, low-cost option so we can give back to other communities, and we have the ability to call for help. It’s kind of a safety net.”

Though IPWMAN sets up a form to allow its members to supply and receive help, members are not required to send aid. The agency supplying the aid has total control over how much and how long it will provide aid.

“There are a range of responses we can send to a request for help,” Moore said, “But we are not obligated at all.”

The city of DeKalb is currently in the process of completing the various legal documents required to enter into IPWMAN.