As far as emergency services are concerned, mutual assistance is an agreement between emergency relief to provide assistance beyond the jurisdiction`s borders. This can happen due to an emergency response that exceeds local resources. B, such as a disaster or multiple alarm fire. Mutual assistance can be ad hoc and can only be requested in case of emergency. It may also be a formal permanent agreement for continuous management of the urgency of cooperation, for example. B to ensure that resources are sent by the nearest fire station, regardless of which side of the jurisdiction where the incident is located. Agreements that send the following funds are regularly referred to as “automatic assistance agreements.” Mutual assistance can also go beyond the local response. Several states have national mutual assistance systems. National mobilization programs in Washington and Oregon are examples.
MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) is a regional mutual assistance system based in Illinois with 1,500 member firefighting corps in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. It may be advisable to identify and review other cross-border government and local agreements that currently exist, some of which contain formal written documents. Fire protection agreements can be particularly instructive. The Great Lakes Forest Fire Protection Agreement, signed in 1989 by natural resource officials from Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin, and the Northwest Wildland Fire Agreement passed by Congress on November 12, 1998 (Table 2▶). The agreement contains provisions that appear to bind states in terms of liability, compensation and reimbursement. Many other cross-border cooperation relationships are based on informal handshake agreements. In particular, along the U.S.-Mexico border, some of these agreements deal with public health issues. However, it is not known whether a legal analysis was conducted prior to the formation of these agreements. “While the use of a title such as the `Memorandum of Understanding` is common for non-binding documents, we caution that simply designating a document as a `Memorandum of Understanding` does not automatically mean to the United States that the document is not binding under international law. The United States has agreements that are considered binding international agreements. Assistance agreements accelerate emergency measures by establishing protocols for requesting and granting aid and pre-defining reimbursement and compensation strategies and procedures, eliminating or reducing the extent to which these issues must be negotiated with each new event. Formal pre-event assistance agreements may also expedite FEMA`s reimbursement of services, equipment and supplies provided as part of mutual assistance.