In mid-July 2003, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) sent a request to all public emergency management agencies, in which copies of existing legislation or mutual assistance agreements, service fees and other supporting documents were requested. Preliminary responses were received from 16 states and the District of Columbia confirming whether the laws/agreements were in effect or not. Over the summer, additional responses were received, documents were sorted and verified, and then grouped into a monograph of legislation and agreements; which served as a starting point for the development of a model of intra-governmental agreement on mutual assistance. Mutual assistance can also go beyond the local response. Several states have national mutual assistance systems. National mobilization programs in Washington and Oregon are examples. MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) is a regional mutual assistance system based in Illinois with 1,500 member firefighting corps in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. International agreement: agreement between the United States and other nations on the exchange of federal assets in case of emergency. These public health emergencies have reinforced the recognition of potential and real barriers to effective mutual assistance and have highlighted legal “gaps” to be filled, both inside and outside the EMAC. Although EMAC facilitated the transfer of unprecedented mutual assistance to the affected areas affected by Katrina, response gaps have been improved. For this reason, many states have not been able or unsure of how they can use the services of volunteers (who were not protected from legal liability) 4.
However, some states are trying to address this problem.5 In addition, the provisions of the EMAC are triggered only by a governor`s declaration, the sharing of small-scale resources, emergencies not declared by agreements separated by the EMAC, must take effect. The same applies to the exchange of epidemiological or laboratory data to detect endangered infectious diseases. In some circumstances, it may even be argued that routine public health functions would be more effective in concluding mutual assistance agreements for the exchange of relevant information, supplies or equipment. A participating political sub-division may seek assistance from other participating political sub-divisions to prevent, mitigate, respond to and re-establish disasters that lead to locally declared emergencies or in coordination with approved exercises or exercises, as permitted by this legislation/convention.