Most jurisdictions or organizations do not have resource levels to handle extreme events on their own. A mutual aid agreement is a tool that you can use to enhance your resources during a high-demand incident. The National Incident Management System guideline for mutual aid helps with mutual aid planning and shows how to create legal agreements with others that include common practices and processes.
Mutual aid agreements establish the terms under which one party provides resources — personnel, teams, facilities, equipment and supplies — to another party. They can support all mission areas; they can be established before, during or after incidents; and they can be between all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.
Your community risk assessment will identify potential shortfalls and capability gaps that a mutual aid agreement can help to address. Before your organization decides to enter into a mutual aid agreement, be sure to:
As you draft your mutual aid agreement, ensure that it includes:
For more information about mutual aid and the National Mutual Aid System, visit FEMA.gov.