The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), established in 1996, has weathered the storm when put to the test and stands today as the model for providing assistance across State lines. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between States exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all States share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.

Since being ratified by Congress and signed into law in 1996 (Public Law 104-321), 48 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have enacted legislation to become members of EMAC. EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress.

The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure and its relationship with Federal organizations, States, counties, territories, and regions.

In addition to providing another avenue for States to receive needed assistance in a disaster, EMAC offers the following benefits:

  • EMAC assistance may be more readily available than other resources.
  • EMAC allows for a quick response to disasters using the unique human resources and expertise possessed by member States.
  • EMAC offers State-to-State assistance during Governor-declared state of emergencies. EMAC offers a responsive and straightforward system for States to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other States. When resources are overwhelmed, EMAC helps to fill the shortfalls.
  • EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation. Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting State have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding contractual agreement that make affected States responsible for reimbursement. Responding States can rest assured that sending aid will not be a financial or legal burden and personnel sent are protected under workers compensation and liability provisions. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials to be honored across State lines.
  • EMAC provides fast and flexible assistance. EMAC allows States to ask for whatever assistance they need for any type of emergency, from earthquakes to acts of terrorism. EMAC's simple procedures help States dispense with bureaucratic wrangling.