Navigating disaster response has never been more challenging. Historic wildfires, flooding, and climate-driven disasters are spreading resources thin across the country.
The mutual aid system is the backbone of emergency management, and moving resources throughout the state and even out of state to assist neighboring states is pivotal to disaster response.
Within the mutual aid system is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which includes all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
EMAC is a national disaster-relief compact that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states.
Implemented on behalf of Governors through emergency management agencies, the EMAC process is relatively straightforward. Once a state declares an emergency, a request for resources is initiated starting with the closest states. Mutual aid resources are then mobilized and deployed to impacted areas, typically starting with a 14-day deployment.
In support of EMAC, Cal OES has regularly deployed personnel to neighboring states for wildfires, to Puerto Rico for an earthquake and to the south and east coast for hurricanes and tornadoes to aid impacted communities.
More recently, Cal OES sent a Recovery Team and coordinated firefighting personnel to New Mexico for historic statewide wildfires and also deployed a crisis communications expert to Montana in support of widespread flooding.