California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Integrated Waste Management Disaster Plan

Chapter 7: Mutual Aid

Contents: This chapter contains four sections.

Step Topic
1 Mutual Aid System
California Mutual Aid Program
2 Mutual Aid for Debris Management
Public Works
Public Information
3 Emergency Managers Mutual Aid (EMMA)
4 Actions to take in assessing mutual aid needs

Step 1: Mutual aid system

Statewide system: California's disaster planning is based on a statewide system of mutual aid. Each local jurisdiction:

Relies first on its own resources, then calls for assistance:

  • city to city,
  • city to county,
  • county to county, and
  • county to the regional office of the OES,
  • which relays unmet requests to the State.

Master Mutual Aid agreement: A California Master Mutual Aid Agreement has been adopted by most cities and all 58 counties in California.

This agreement creates a formal structure within which each jurisdiction retains control of its own personnel and facilities, while giving and receiving help whenever it is needed. The State is a signatory to this agreement and provides available resources to assist local jurisdictions in emergencies.

Six regions: The State of California is currently divided into three administrative regions and six OES mutual aid regions . Regional managers, their staff and any designated state agency representatives constitute the regional emergency management staff. A map of the regions and OES contact names appear in Attachment A.

Table: The California Mutual Aid Program, channels of coordination, and mutual aid systems are shown in the following table.

California Mutual Aid Program [1]
Mutual Aid Systems and Channels of Statewide Mutual Aid Coordination
Coordinated by state OES Coordinated by EMSA**
Fire and Rescue Law Enforcement Emergency Services Disaster Medical
Fire Mutual Aid System Coroners Mutual aid System All other emergency services mutual aid not included in other systems. Disaster Medical Mutual Aid System.
Urban Search and Rescue System Law Enforcement Mutual Aid System Volunteer Engineers Mutual Aid System*  
  Search and Rescue Mutual Aid System (non urban) Public Works Mutual Aid System*  
    Emergency Managers Mutual Aid System*  
    Hazardous Materials Mutual Aid System*  
    Water Agency Response Network (WARN)*  

*Systems currently under development

**Emergency Medical Services Authority

Step 2: Mutual aid for debris management

Consider entering into a Mutual Agreement with neighboring jurisdictions for debris management when the jurisdiction has exhausted its resources and response capabilities after a disaster.

Examples: A Model Mutual Aid Agreement is contained in Attachment B; a city or county may consider developing such an agreement with neighboring jurisdictions.

Public works: A Public Works Mutual Aid Plan and Procedures Agreement, which may provide more specific assistance related to debris management, is under development by the OES Southern Region; jurisdictions may consider adopting a similar agreement. For more information, contact the Emergency Operations and Training Officer at the OES Southern Region, (310) 795-2900.

Public information: In addition, a Public Information Mutual Aid Plan has been adopted by San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. Local governments may find this useful in developing a similar Plan to obtain resources to coordinate public outreach and media activities. Contact the nearest OES Regional Office for more information.

Step 3: Emergency Managers Mutual Aid (EMMA) [2]

Purpose: City and county emergency managers in the OES Coastal, Southern, and Inland Regions developed a coordinated emergency management concept called the Emergency Managers Mutual Aid (EMMA) system, which worked very successfully during the Northridge earthquake recovery.

The purpose of EMMA is to provide professional emergency management personnel in the form of mutual aid to impacted areas to support disaster operations.

EMMA system: The EMMA system is composed of emergency managers from cities and counties. The State Office of Emergency Services (OES) maintains mutual aid inventories and facilitates mutual aid among Operational Areas (counties) and among OES Regions. OES will also maintain EMMA personnel inventories at the regions and headquarters as they are developed.

Local government managers: City and county managers can provide jurisdictions with invaluable technical assistance and expertise in debris management programs through this program.

Requesting EMMA: To request (EMMA) mutual aid, follow normal mutual aid channels consistent with the California Master Mutual Aid Agreement. Contact the nearest OES Regional Office for more information.

Reimbursement: All associated costs incurred by the jurisdiction providing assistance will be eligible for reimbursement as part of "emergency protective measures" (Category B) described in the State Natural Disaster Assistance Act when a state of emergency has been declared and by Public Law (PL) 93-288 when there is a Presidential declaration of a major disaster. The providing jurisdiction must document all costs and invoice the requesting jurisdiction.

Documentation: Those providing mutual aid will be responsible for maintaining their own logs, time keeping and other documentation necessary for reimbursement. This documentation must be submitted to their accounting departments so the requesting jurisdiction can be involved appropriately.

Reimbursement: State and federal governments may provide reimbursement for mutual aid when there is a Governor's proclamation of a State of Emergency or a Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster. There are no other provisions for state mutual aid reimbursement.

Liability: Local governments are responsible for providing liability and property damage insurance coverage on apparatus and equipment used beyond their territorial limits.

Injuries: Work related injuries to EMMA personnel will be handled by the assisting jurisdiction under Workers' Compensation which may include the Disaster Service Worker program. No special registration is required as all public employees are considered to be disaster service workers during disaster situations.

EMMA Assignments: EMMA personnel assignments will be restricted to:

  • local government and operational area Emergency Operations Centers,
  • Regional Emergency Operations Centers, and
  • Disaster Service Centers. 

12-hour period: Mutual aid will be limited to a 12-hour period between jurisdictions when there is no emergency declaration in effect. It is anticipated that for such events neighboring jurisdictions would be requested.

7-10 days: Mutual aid assignments for declared emergencies will be for a 7 to 10 day period.

Activation

The system can be activated for small, single jurisdictional emergencies or for large-scale disasters involving multiple jurisdictions.

Small scale: On a small-scale activation requiring mutual aid between two cities within the same Operational Area (county), request assistance of a neighboring jurisdiction through the Operational Area. The Operational Area will be responsible for coordinating and documenting any mutual aid within their Operational Area.

Operational area to another: When mutual aid is requested from one Operational Area to another, route requests through the OES Region. At this time, the Regional Administrator will activate the EMMA Coordinator.

Region to region: When mutual aid is requested from one Region to another, direct the request to the requesting jurisdiction's region.

During a multi-region incident, route requests for mutual aid through the State Operations Center (SOC).

Step 4: Actions to take

Table: When evaluating alternatives to staffing and equipment, consider taking the following actions mutual aid agreements

Step

Action

A Review existing mutual aid agreements
B Develop a list of mutual aid agreements the jurisdiction is a signatory to and the resources available through each.
C Explore possibility of entering into discipline-specific mutual aid agreements, such as those for public works, Emergency Management Mutual Aid, or public information.
  • Steps A & B: Review agreements

Review the mutual aid agreements your city or county is a signatory to and list the types of assistance available through those agreements.

Based on this review, your jurisdiction may identify mutual aid agreements that it needs to develop, or, for an existing agreement, become a signatory to.

A Model Mutual Aid Agreement is contained in Attachment B. A city or county may consider developing such an agreement with neighboring jurisdictions specifically for debris management.

  • Step C: Explore discipline-specific mutual aid agreements

Public works: A Public Works Mutual Aid Agreement, which may provide more specific assistance related to debris management, is under development by the OES Southern Region; jurisdictions may consider adopting a similar agreement. For more information, contact the Emergency Operations and Training Officer at the OES Southern Region, (310) 795-2900.

Public information: In addition, a Public Information Mutual Aid Plan that has been adopted by San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, contact OES; local governments may find this useful in developing a similar Plan to obtain resources to coordinate public outreach and media activities.

EMMA program: Also consider the Emergency Managers Mutual Aid (EMMA) program, which is composed of emergency managers from cities and counties. The State Office of Emergency Services (OES) maintains mutual aid inventories and facilitates mutual aid among Operational Areas (counties) and among OES Regions. These emergency managers may be able to provide technical assistance and advice on debris management programs. Contact the nearest OES Regional Office for more information.

Attachments

  1. Map of Mutual Aid Regions
  2. Model Mutual Aid Agreement form.

References

  • California State Emergency Plan, 1988.
  • Master Mutual Aid Agreement, OES.
  • Emergency Managers Mutual Aid Plan, Part One, 9/12/94

Endnotes

  1. SEMS Emergency Operations Center Course, Module C3, page 6, Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
  2. Emergency Managers Mutual Aid Plan, Part One, 9/12/94
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Last updated: December 01, 2004
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