Howdy! The Texas Division of Emergency Management has added the capability for you to manage your Mutual Aid Agreements through the PreparingTexas.org portal. You will be able to submit the basic information on the parties involved and upload all documents pertaining to the agreement. You should submit a separate entry for each Mutual Aid Agreement you have.
What Are Mutual Aid Agreements and Assistance Agreements?
Mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements are agreements between agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions that provide a mechanism to quickly obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services. The primary objective is to facilitate rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support prior to, during, and after an incident. A signed agreement does not obligate the provision or receipt of aid, but rather provides a tool for use should the incident dictate a need.
What Are the Different Types of Agreements?
There are several types of these kinds of agreements, including but not limited to the following:
Jurisdictions should be party to agreements with the appropriate jurisdictions and/or organizations (including NGOs and the private sector, where appropriate) from which they expect to receive, or to which they expect to provide, assistance. States should participate in interstate compacts and look to establish intrastate agreements that encompass all local jurisdictions. Authorized officials from each of the participating jurisdictions and/or organizations should collectively approve all mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements.
- Automatic Mutual Aid: Agreements that permit the automatic dispatch and response of requested resources without incident-specific approvals. These agreements are usually basic contracts; some may be informal accords.
- Local Mutual Aid: Agreements between neighboring jurisdictions or organizations that involve a formal request for assistance and generally cover a larger geographic area than automatic mutual aid.
- Regional Mutual Aid: Substate regional mutual aid agreements between multiple jurisdictions that are often sponsored by a council of governments or a similar regional body.
- Statewide/Intrastate Mutual Aid: Agreements, often coordinated through the State, that incorporate both State and local governmental and nongovernmental resources in an attempt to increase preparedness statewide.
- Interstate Agreements: Out-of-State assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) or other formal State-to-State agreements that support the response effort.
- International Agreements: Agreements between the United States and other nations for the exchange of Federal assets in an emergency.
- Other Agreements: Any agreement, whether formal or informal, used to request or provide assistance and/or resources among jurisdictions at any level of government (including foreign), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or the private sector.
Memorandums of understanding and memorandums of agreement are needed with the private sector and NGOs, including community-based, faith-based, and national organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, to facilitate the timely delivery of assistance during incidents.
What Is Included in Agreements?
- Agreements, preferably written, should include the following elements or provisions:
- Definitions of key terms used in the agreement
- Roles and responsibilities of individual parties
- Procedures for requesting and providing assistance
- Procedures, authorities, and rules for payment, reimbursement, and allocation of costs
- Notification procedures
- Protocols for interoperable communications
- Relationships with other agreements among jurisdictions
- Workers’ compensation
- Treatment of liability and immunity
- Recognition of qualifications, licensure, and certifications
- Sharing agreements, as required
- Termination clause