The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), established in 1996, has weathered the storm when tested and stands today as the cornerstone of the nation’s mutual aid system.
EMAC is the first national disaster–relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress. Since ratification and signing into law in 1996 (Public Law 104-321), 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted legislation to become EMAC members.
EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency through a responsive, straightforward system that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states. Through EMAC states can also transfer services, such as shipping newborn blood from a disaster-impacted lab to a lab in another state.
The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lie in its governance structure; its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, and regions; the willingness of states and response and recovery personnel to deploy; and the ability to move any resource one state wishes to utilize to assist another state.
EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation. Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting state have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding contractual agreement that makes affected states responsible for reimbursement. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials, licenses, and certifications to be honored across state lines.
Deploying resources through EMAC leverages federal grant dollars dollars (such as HMGP & EMPG) invested in state and local emergency management resource capabilities.
Through EMAC, states are able to join forces and help one another when they need it the most: whenever disaster strikes!