Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Team to Receive Award for Swift Water Rescue

Naperville Firefighter Serves on Task Force that Performed Rescues During 2018 Hurricane

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Mutual Aid Box Alarm System of Illinois has selected the Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, IL-TF 1, to receive a Higgins and Langley Memorial Award. The award is given to individuals, teams and agencies that demonstrate outstanding achievements, skills and/or preparedness in the technical rescue discipline of swift water and flood rescue. Naperville Fire Department Firefighter/paramedic and Dive Team Coordinator Chuck Gros, who is a member of IL-TF 1, will be present for the award ceremony. Members of Mutual Aid Box System of Illinois agree to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries to increase efficiency among fire departments and fire protection districts.

The Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, IL-TF 1, was chosen for its cumulative efforts to develop a swift water response team, its efforts to gain state and national deployment status and its deployment through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to North Carolina during Hurricane Florence in 2018. The task force performed several life-saving rescues during this North Carolina deployment. Task force members meet regularly to practice swift water and flood rescue techniques and become certified, so they are able to assist in the event of local, regional or national emergencies.

The team will receive the award on Sunday, June 2, before the International Association of Water Rescue Professionals (IAWRP) Surface Water Rescue Symposium in South Bend, Indiana. The awards honor civilian rescuer Earl Higgins, who lost his life in 1980 while saving the life of a child who was swept away in the flood-swollen Los Angeles River, as well as firefighter/paramedic Jeffrey Langley of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, a swift water rescue pioneer who lost his life in a helicopter accident in 1993. Additional information on the Higgins and Langley awards can be found at

About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at