Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies Mutual-Aid and Other Agreements

Mutual-aid and other agreements (such as formal procedures for coordination of multi-county evacuations) have been cited in the literature as important.

Mutual-Aid Agreements – Mutual-aid agreements are identified in the literature as an item that should be in place before an emergency. According to National Fire Protection Association 1600: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs: “Mutual aid agreements between entities are an effective means to obtain resources and should be developed whenever possible. Mutual aid agreements should be in writing, be reviewed by legal counsel, be signed by a responsible official, define liability, and detail funding and cost arrangements.”

Mutual-aid agreements need to be factored into the entities internal operations. For example, Increasing FDNY’s (Fire Department of the City of New York) Preparedness reported: “the Fire Department New York requested and received mutual aid from Nassau and Westchester counties on (the) September 11 (terrorist attacks). However, the Department had no process for evaluating the need for mutual aid, nor any formal methods of requesting that aid or managing it. Therefore, the Department had limited ability to evaluate how the mutual aid could be integrated into its operations.”

Other Agreements – Other types of agreements or procedures have been instituted for evacuation incidents. According to the Planning Magazine article “Danger! Coastal States Get Ready for a Really Rainy Day—By Cranking Up Their Evacuation Plan”: “Florida has developed formal procedures to coordinate multi-county evacuations. These procedures include the designation of inland ‘host counties’ that will open shelters for evacuees from coastal counties.”

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015