A Mutual Aid Agreement is an agreement between jurisdictions or agencies to provide services across boundaries in the event of an emergency or major disaster. The conditions of the agreement can be to provide reciprocal services or direct payment for services. FEMA will reimburse mutual aid costs for emergency work provided that:
The entity that received the aid was charged for that aid. For example, Green County removes debris in Blue County. As part of their mutual aid agreement, Green County charges Blue County for the work. FEMA may provide funding to Blue County
Payment under the agreement is not contingent on receipt of Federal funding
The receiving entity can provide documentation of work accomplished, the billing for assistance, and payment for services
The claimed costs are reasonable
The claimed costs are in accordance with FEMA’s mutual aid policy
(e.g., the aid was requested and the work is eligible for assistance)
The employees of the entity providing supplemental assistance are considered as extra hires or contract labor; therefore, both regular and overtime labor are eligible. The receiving entity is responsible for requesting FEMA assistance and for the non-Federal cost share.
Labor from one division of an entity providing assistance to another division of the same local or State entity will not be treated under mutual aid provisions.
When an Applicant does not have sufficient resources to respond to an incident, it may request resources from another jurisdiction through a “mutual aid” agreement. FEMA refers to the entity requesting resources as the Requesting Entity. FEMA refers to the entity providing the requested resource as the Providing Entity.
FEMA provides PA funding to the Requesting Entity as it is legally responsible for the work. FEMA does not provide PA funding directly to the Providing Entity. For the work to be eligible, the Requesting Entity must have requested the resources provided.
Some States have a statewide mutual aid agreement that designates the State as being responsible for reimbursing mutual aid costs. In these States, the Providing Entity may request funding directly from the State, with prior consent of the Requesting Entity, in accordance with applicable State laws and procedures. If the Requesting entity and the State approve the request and the State pays the Providing Entity, FEMA provides PA funding to the State. The Requesting Entity may be responsible for reimbursing the State for any non-Federal local cost share, depending on specific State requirements.
The Requesting Entity or State, if applicable, must provide a description of the services requested and received, along with documentation of associated costs (e.g., labor, equipment, supplies, or materials) to FEMA in support of a request for PA funding.
When the Requesting and Providing Entities do not have a written agreement, OR where such an agreement exists but is silent on reimbursement, the entities may verbally agree on the resources to be provided and on the terms, conditions, and costs of such assistance.
The agreement should be consistent with past practices for mutual aid between the entities. For example, if the Requesting Entity does not normally reimburse a Providing Entity for its costs, it should not agree to do so specifically for the declared incident.
Prior to funding, the Requesting Entity must document the verbal agreement in writing, have it executed by an official of each entity with the authority to request and provide assistance, and submit it to FEMA (preferably within 30 days of the Applicant’s Briefing).128
128 The Recipient conducts Applicant Briefings to provide PA Program information to potential applicants. This briefing is described in Chapter 3 Section I.B.
Three types of mutual aid are eligible: Emergency Work, emergency utility restoration (regardless of whether it is deemed Category B or F), and grant management. Mutual aid work is subject to the same eligibility criteria as contract work. Costs to transport the Providing Entity’s equipment and personnel to the declared area are eligible.
Ineligible work performed by a Providing Entity includes, but is not limited to:
• Preparing to deploy or “standing-by”
• Dispatch operations outside the receiving State, Territory, or Tribe
• Training and exercises
• Support for long-term recovery and mitigation operations
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is a national interstate mutual aid agreement that enables States and Territories to share resources in response to an incident. Work performed outside the receiving State or Territory that is associated with the operation of EMAC, including tracking of resources, is not eligible unless the work is associated with the receiving State’s or Territory’s emergency operations for the incident.
The Providing Entity’s straight-time and overtime labor are eligible, including fringe benefits. When the Requesting Entity is a State, Territorial, Tribal, or local government and the Providing Entity is another division within the same State, Territorial, Tribal, or local government, straight- time for budgeted employees of the Providing Entity is not eligible.
If the Providing Entity backfills deployed personnel, overtime for backfill personnel is eligible even if they are not performing eligible work. However, straight-time for backfill personnel is not eligible.
FEMA reimburses the use of equipment provided to a Requesting Entity based on either the terms of the agreement or equipment rates (detailed in Chapter 2:V.B). FEMA provides PA funding to repair damage to this equipment the same way as it provides PA funding to repair damage to Applicant-owned equipment (detailed in Chapter 2:VI.C).