Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
Overview for National Response Framework
EMAC is a national interstate mutual aid agreement that enables states to share resources
during times of disaster. Since the 104th Congress ratified the compact, EMAC has grown to
become the nation's system for providing mutual aid through operational procedures and
protocols that have been validated through experience. EMAC is administered by NEMA, the
National Emergency Management Association, headquartered in Lexington, KY.
EMAC acts as a complement to the federal disaster response system, providing timely and
cost-effective relief to states requesting assistance from assisting member states who
understand the needs of jurisdictions that are struggling to preserve life, the economy, and
the environment. EMAC can be used either in lieu of federal assistance or in conjunction
with federal assistance, thus providing a "seamless" flow of needed goods and services to
an impacted state.
EMAC further provides another venue for mitigating resource
deficiencies by ensuring maximum use of all available resources within member states'
The thirteen (13) articles of the Compact sets the foundation for sharing resources from
state to state that have been adopted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S.
Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and has been ratified by Congress (PL-104-321).
The four more commonly referenced articles of the compact (Article V, IV, VIII, and IX)
address the primary concerns of personnel and states offering and receiving assistance:
Article V - Licenses and Permits
Whenever any person holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by any state
party to the compact evidencing the meeting of qualifications for professional,
mechanical, or other skills, and when such assistance is requested by the receiving
party state, such person shall be deemed licensed, certified, or permitted by the
state requesting assistance to render aid involving such skill to meet a declared
emergency or disaster, subject to such limitations and conditions as the governor of
the requesting state may prescribe by executive order or otherwise.
Article VI - Liability
Officers or employees of a party state rendering aid in another state pursuant to this
comp act shall be considered agents of the requesting state for tort liability and
immunity purposes; and no party state or its officers or employees rendering aid in
another state pursuant to this compact shall be liable on account of any act or
omission in good faith on the part of such forces while so engaged or on account of
the maintenance or use of any equipment or supplies in connection therewith. Good
faith in this article shall not include willful misconduct, gross negligence, or
Article VIII - Compensation
Each party state shall provide for the payment of compensation and death benefits to
injured members of the emergency forces of that state and representatives of
deceased members of such forces in case such members sustain injuries or are killed
while rendering aid pursuant to this compact, in the same manner and on the same
terms as if the injury or death were sustained within their own state.
Article IX - Reimbursement
Any party state rendering aid in another state pursuant to this compact shall be
reimbursed by the party state receiving such aid for any loss or damage to or
expense incurred in the operation of any equipment and the provision of any service
in answering a request for aid and for the costs incurred in connection with such
requests; provided, that any aiding party state may assume in whole or in part such
loss, damage, expense, or other cost, or may loan such equipment or donate such
services to the receiving party state without charge or cost; and provided further,
that any two or more party states may enter into supplementary agreements
establishing a different allocation of costs among those states. Article VIII expenses
shall not be reimbursable under this provision.
EMAC Governance Structure
An outline of the EMAC Governance Structure is given below:
1. National Emergency Management Association: NEMA was established in 1974 when
state directors of emergency management first united in order to exchange
information on common emergency management issues that threatened their
constituencies. NEMA has administered EMAC since 1995 and has 2.5 staff members
dedicated to EMAC administration and training.
2. EMAC Committee: The EMAC Committee, the managing body of the compact, is a
standing committee under the NEMA organizational structure that maintains
oversight of EMAC and the EMAC Executive Task Force. The EMAC Committee
consists of a chair, fourteen (14) state directors (or their designees) and a nonvoting private sector liaison. The emergency management director and Governor
from every state and territory that has passed EMAC legislation and signed EMAC
into (state) law are invited to participate.
3. The EMAC Advisory Group: The EMAC Advisory Group is comprised of invited
representatives from the national based organizations who represent the first
responder community and other mutual aid stakeholders (including DHS/FEMA, CDC,
and the National Guard Bureau). The mission is to facilitate the effective integration
of multi-discipline emergency response and recovery assets for nationwide mutual
aid through EMAC.
4. The EMAC Executive Task Force (ETF): The ETF conducts the day-to-day work of the
EMAC Committee. The ETF is comprised of a Chair, Chair-elect, Past Chair, and ten
(10) voting Lead State Representative members (chosen by the state emergency
management directors), three (3) members at large (chosen by the EMAC ETF
Chair), and four (4) non-voting members (NEMA Legal Committee Liaison, NEMA
EMAC Coordinator, NEMA EMAC Sr. Advisor, and NEMA EMAC Training Coordinator).
The Chair of the EMAC Executive Task Force serves as the Team Leader to the
National Coordination Group.
5. National Coordination Group (NCG): The NCG (state of the EMAC ETF Chair) works
very closely with NEMA on the daily workings of EMAC and during an event works to
direct EMAC policy and procedures.
How EMAC Works
Requesting and deploying resources is made at the discretion of the impacted (Requesting)
state allowing them the ability to pick what they need and for what price. The responding
(Assisting) state only has to offer assistance if they have the resources and can deploy it.
At all times, impacted states retain the choice of seeking resource support from either state
or federal, or both as may be appropriate for their circumstances. Local resources can be
deployed under EMAC if the state has adopted intrastate legislation (see Model Intrastate
Mutual Aid Legislation at NEMA’s Web Site (www.nemaweb.org). The EMAC process is
Note: The state emergency management director is an appointed EMAC
Authorized Representative and can designate both EMAC Authorized
Representatives and EMAC Designated Contacts in their agency. EMAC
Authorized Representatives have the authority to obligate the state financially
(make requests for resources to come into their state under an emergency
declaration). EMAC Designated Contacts cannot financially obligate the state
but can be contacted to get more information about EMAC coordination.
1. EMAC Authorized Representative confirms declaration of emergency by Governor
2. State assesses needs for resources
3. State determines if they need an external EMAC A-Team to assist with acquisition of
resources or if they will use their in-state EMAC A-Team and acquires external ATeam if needed
4. State determines best source for needed resource (EMAC, Federal, private sector,
5. EMAC A-Teams request resources by one or all of the following methodologies:
a. Direct contact with state (knows the resource and can go directly to the state
that has it – often a recurring mission).
b. EMAC resource request is made utilizing the EMAC Emergency Operations
System (EOS) broadcast functionality. States may request broadcast by
region (FEMA regions), two regions, or 3 regions, an individual state, or an
individual EMAC Authorized Representative or EMAC Designated Contact
within a state.
c. Agencies within the states may refer request and suggested resource to the
state emergency management agency for their follow-up.
6. EMAC A-Teams determine cost and availability of resources
7. The EMAC REQ-A Form is completed by the EMAC Authorized Representatives
between both the Requesting State and the Assisting State.
8. Resources are mobilized from the Assisting State to the Requesting State.
9. Resources check in at state staging areas and are deployment locations and missions
10. Resources complete mission – relaying any issues back to their home state
emergency management agency.
11. Resources are demobilized.
12. Assisting States complete reimbursement request and after internal audit sends to
the Requesting State.
13. Requesting State reimburses the Assisting State
EMAC Operational Levels
The three levels of EMAC operation (Level 3, Level 2, and Level 1) are mirrored after most
state and federal operation levels and have worked effectively and seamlessly within NIMS.
The EMAC coordinating components are typed according to size, organizational composition,
function, and mission requirements to meet operational demands. EMAC operational
deployment levels are activated depending upon the scale of the event. If the event
warrants, the levels of operational deployment can be ramped up from a Level 3 to a Level
1. The highest level of EMAC operational level is 1, where all components and functions are
in play (see image below).
The decision to expand or elevate the level of operation rests with the EMAC Executive Task
Force Chair acting as the NCG Team Leader. The EMAC Operation Levels are reviewed
A. Level 3 – The lowest level of EMAC activation involves the activation of the
Assisting State, the NCG, and the NEMA EMAC Coordinator. The Assisting State is
using their internal state A-Team to request resources.
B. Level 2 – A level 2 operation may involve a single-state or multiple states and
deployment of an A-Team is requested by one or more affected states.
C. Level 1 - The highest level of EMAC activation is in effect whenever a single-state
or multiple states within single or multiple regions have suffered a major disaster
requiring resources. A-Teams have been requested by one or more affected states
and DHS/FEMA Headquarters has requested that an EMAC National Coordinating
Team (NCT) and/or an EMAC Regional Coordinating Team (RCT) be deployed to
appropriate locations to coordinate resource needs with federal and state
How EMAC is Coordinated with the Federal Response:
EMAC is first and foremost a state-to-state compact; however, DHS/FEMA and EMAC
leadership have a long-standing agreement in which NEMA, through the NCG, facilitates
requests to deploy a team to coordinate EMAC activities with federal personnel whenever
requested by DHS/FEMA Headquarters. When requested, this results in EMAC moving from
a Level 2 to a Level 1 operation.
Upon a request by DHS/FEMA with the concurrence of the NCG Leader and NEMA, an EMAC
Coordinating Team may be deployed to the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC)
at DHS/FEMA Headquarters in Washington, DC, or to a DHS/FEMA Regional Response
Coordination Center (RRCC). Member States should use Form REQ-B (Appendix V. h: EMAC
Forms: 4. EMAC Form REQ- B: NCT and RCT Cost Estimate) to capture estimated mission
costs tracked by NEMA.
To stand up the NRCC or an RRCC, FEMA NRCC contacts the NEMA EMAC Coordinator who
coordinates with the NRCC, NEMA Executive Director, and the National Coordination Group
to complete a task order and determine if the deployment of state resources under EMAC is
at a level that coordination is necessitated.
For more information about EMAC visit www.emacweb.org, contact NEMA
(www.nemaweb.org), or your state emergency management agency.
Overview of Stafford Act Support to States
This overview illustrates actions Federal agencies are likely to take to assist State, tribal,
and local governments that are affected by a major disaster or emergency. Key operational
components that may be activated include the National Response Coordination Center
(NRCC), Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), Joint Field Office (JFO), and
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs).
1. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Operations Center continually
monitors potential major disasters and emergencies. When advance warning is
received, DHS may deploy—and may request that other Federal agencies deploy—liaison
officers and personnel to a State emergency operations center to assess the emerging
situation. An RRCC may be fully or partially activated. Facilities, such as mobilization
centers, may be established to accommodate Federal personnel, equipment, and
2. Immediately after a major incident, tribal and/or local emergency personnel respond and
assess the situation. If necessary, those officials seek additional resources through
mutual aid and assistance agreements and the State. State officials also review the
situation, mobilize State resources, use interstate mutual aid and assistance processes
such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to augment State resources,
and provide situation assessments to the DHS/Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) regional office. The Governor activates the State emergency operations plan,
declares a state of emergency, and may request a State/DHS joint Preliminary Damage
Assessment (PDA). The State and Federal officials conduct the PDA in coordination with
tribal/local officials as required and determine whether the impact of the event warrants
a request for a Presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency. Based on the
results of the PDA, the Governor may request a Presidential declaration specifying the
kind of Federal assistance needed.
3. After a major disaster or emergency declaration, an RRCC coordinates initial regional
and field activities until a JFO is established. Regional teams assess the impact of the
event, gauge immediate State needs, and make preliminary arrangements to set up field
facilities. (If regional resources are or may be overwhelmed or if it appears that the
event may result in particularly significant consequences, DHS may deploy a nationallevel Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT).)
4. Depending on the scope and impact of the event, the NRCC carries out initial activations
and mission assignments and supports the RRCC.
5. The Governor appoints a State Coordinating Officer (SCO) to oversee State response
and recovery efforts. A Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), appointed by the President
in a Stafford Act declaration, coordinates Federal activities in support of the State.
6. A JFO may be established locally to provide a central point for Federal, State, tribal, and
local executives to coordinate their support to the incident. The Unified Coordination
Group leads the JFO. The Unified Coordination Group typically consists of the FCO, SCO,
and senior officials from other entities with primary statutory or jurisdictional
responsibility and significant operational responsibility for an aspect of an incident. This
group may meet initially via conference calls to develop a common set of objectives and
a coordinated initial JFO action plan.
7. The Unified Coordination Group coordinates field operations from a JFO. In coordination
with State, tribal, and/or local agencies, Emergency Support Functions assess the
situation and identify requirements. Federal agencies provide resources under
DHS/FEMA mission assignments or their own authorities.
National Response Framework: Stafford Act Support to States
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8. As immediate response priorities are met, recovery activities begin. Federal and State
agencies assisting with recovery and mitigation activities convene to discuss needs.
9. The Stafford Act Public Assistance program provides disaster assistance to States, tribes,
local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations. FEMA, in conjunction
with the State, conducts briefings to inform potential applicants of the assistance that is
available and how to apply.
10. Throughout response and recovery operations, DHS/FEMA Hazard Mitigation program
staff at the JFO look for opportunities to maximize mitigation efforts in accordance with
State hazard mitigation plans.
11. As the need for full-time interagency coordination at the JFO decreases, the Unified
Coordination Group plans for selective release of Federal resources, demobilization, and
closeout. Federal agencies work directly with disaster assistance grantees (i.e., State or
tribal governments) from their regional or headquarters offices to administer and
monitor individual recovery programs, support, and technical services.
The following chart summarizes Stafford Act support to States.
National Response Framework: Stafford Act Support to States
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• A mutual aid agreement that allows stateto-state assistance during declared states
• Includes all 50 states, three territories, and
the District of Columbia
• Allows unaffected states to provide resources to affected states including the use
of National Guard forces and equipment
• The National Guard can forecast a need
and pre-position forces and equipment in
anticipation of a call for assistance
• State and local emergency operations
• Damage assessment
• Disaster recovery
• Logistic support
• Fire fighting
• Aviation support
• Biological and chemical events
• Community outreach
• Search and rescue
• Debris clearance
• Public Health
• Hazardous materials
• Information and planning
• Legal and fiscal protections
Current as of November 2014
Fast and flexible assistance
Mission: The Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or
EMAC, is a national mutual aid partnership agreement that allows
state-to-state assistance during governor- or federally-declared
emergencies. The EMAC is about governors helping fellow governors
in time of need.
Overview: The EMAC concept was approved by Congress in 1996
(Public Law 104-321) and provides governors a means to quickly
request assistance for any type of emergency, from earthquakes
to acts of terrorism. When state resources are overwhelmed, other
states, to include National Guard units nationwide, can step in and
fill shortfalls. In responding to national emergencies and disasters,
EMAC is instrumental in providing needed advice and assistance to
governors as it relates to identifying, selecting, requesting and deploying all types of resources.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showcased the largest deployment of
state-to-state aid in history and stand as a testament to EMAC’s effectiveness and efficiency in sharing of resources through
mutual aid agreements. The use of EMAC facilitated the deployment
of 65,919 personnel, to include 19,431 civilians and 46,488 National
Guard members from 50 states and three territories, and the District
of Columbia to the affected areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Florida, and Texas – including 19,431 civilians and 46,488 National
The EMAC provides another way for states to receive interstate aid in
a disaster, outside of federal assistance. To date, all 50 states, three
territories and the District of Columbia have authorized EMAC
Learn more at www.nationalguard.mil
Point of Contact: NGB Public Affairs at (703) 607-2584
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