The Stafford Act provides an abbreviated opportunity to obtain congressional approval on intergovernmental agreements. Congressional approval is deemed granted 60 days after the transfer of an intergovernmental agreement to the two houses. Refusal or revocation of approval by Congress is approved at any time.23 Mutual Assistance Agreements (AMA) and other types of support agreements before, during and after an emergency meeting facilitate the rapid mobilization of personnel, equipment and supplies. Agreements can be concluded at several levels: between public and local authorities; between a state and localities in the state; between two or more states in a region; between states and tribes; internationally between states and neighbouring jurisdictions in Canada or Mexico. MAAS can also exist among a wide range of types of organizations, including governments, non-profit organizations and private companies. Agreements can range in the form of formal pacts introduced into law by a state legislator, up to informal declarations of intent explaining how public and private resources provide assistance within a given community. Emergency maas generally deal with emergency management, fire, enforcement and medical problems, although they can address other issues (see below). Participation in MEALs is seen as an important part of the Federal National Disaster Management System (NIMS), which aims to provide a systematic approach to helping governments at all levels, non-governmental organizations and the private sector conduct collaborative emergency preparedness and response activities1 Mutual assistance agreements and other types of assistance agreements facilitate the rapid sharing of emergency aid and resources between governments and resources organizations at all levels. These can include existing agreements, such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), or the creation of new tools to deal with emerging events or parts outside of existing compacts.

Depending on the nature and extent of an agreement, the laws of a state may govern the formation and operation of the mutual assistance agreement. (Download a printable PDF.) Emergency officials should meet regularly with government authorities, community organizations and specialized response organizations to discuss emergencies and their ability to provide resources. Mutual assistance agreements should facilitate the rapid and short-term delivery of emergency assistance before, during and after an incident. However, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) planning guide indicates that a response from public or federal resources can take up to 72 hours or more. In addition to EMAC, other mutual assistance pacts and agreements have been concluded in some regions. These include the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Agreement and the California, Nevada, and Oregon Chempack Sharing Procedures. 7 Other cooperation agreements covering public health activities in general, but also on prevention and response to emergencies, include the Great Lakes Border Health Initiative Public Health Data Sharing Agreement and the Guidelines for U.S.-Mexico Coordination on Epidemiologic Events of Mutual Interest. 7 Model Intrastate Mutual Aid Legislation was developed by NEMA to facilitate intra-state assistance between legal systems within a state.4 The issue of public health and emergency-related AAAs may include emergency management and emergency management in the area of public health and focus on issues such as the exchange of public health data , influenza pandemic preparedness, influenza surveillance, laboratory resource sharing, TB treatment and control, and animal health emergency management.