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General Topic EMAC Frequently Asked Questions

What is EMAC?

EMAC LogoThe Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is a congressionally ratified mutual aid compact that legally establishes a national system to facilitate resources across state lines during an emergency or disaster. 

Its ratification in 1996 as Public Law 104-321 made EMAC the first national disaster compact to be ratified by Congress since the Civil Defense Act of 1950.

The questions below represent those most frequently asked about the Compact. Do you have a question not answered here? Contact us.

  • Is EMAC an organization? +

    EMAC is not an organization but, rather, an agreement between states.

    The Compact is administered by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), a professional nonprofit association of, and for, state emergency management directors—but EMAC is not in itself an organization.

  • What does "state" mean in terms of EMAC membership? +

    When referring to “states” in terms of EMAC, what does “state” mean? Only the fifty states of the nation?

    According to EMAC’s Article of Agreement I, “states” in reference to EMAC is defined as the fifty states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.

  • How many states are members of EMAC? +

    How many states have become members of EMAC?

    To date, all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are EMAC members.

  • What makes EMAC different from other mutual aid agreements? +

    EMAC’s distinctive character among mutual aid agreements lies in its governance structure; its relationship with states, regions, territories, national membership, and federal organizations; and its ability to move almost any type of needed resource from one state to another.

  • Who administers EMAC? +

    NEMA logoThe National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has administered EMAC since 1995. NEMA is the professional association of and for emergency management directors from all fifty states, eight territories, and the District of Columbia.

  • What types of resources may be deployed through EMAC? +

    EMAC resources may include any capabilities — no matter how large or small, how typical or specialized — that one member state possesses that can be shared with another member state. The law says that states will make use of all of the resources within their state to make them deployable through EMAC (including local government resources). 

    With such resources as emergency operations center support, disaster recovery, security, fire fighting, law enforcement, medical personnel and resources, public utilities management, public health, GIS support, engineering, transportation, and community outreach, the capabilities that states can share with one another are nearly limitless.

    Learn more about some of the resources that can deploy through EMAC and how!

  • May a state modify the EMAC Articles of Agreement and still be a member? +

    When a state adopts the EMAC Articles of Agreement, the state must adopt them in their entirety and without modification to be considered a Member State and to use the Compact legally.

  • Who provides workers compensation benefits? +

    Workers compensation is provided by the home jurisdiction/state.  Contact your state to learn more about how this works

    Under EMAC law, worker's compensation is not an eligible reimbursement expense.

  • Who provides tort liability and immunity under EMAC? +

    Tort liability and immunity protection is provided by the Requesting State under EMAC law.

  • What was SREMAC? +

    SREMACSREMAC is an acronym for the Southern Regional Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which was the precursor state-to-state mutual aid agreement to EMAC. SREMAC was created by the Southern Governors’ Association and adopted in 1993 by seventeen southern states after the poor response after Hurricane Andrew. Eventually, all states were invited to join the Compact, and it was renamed EMAC.

  • Are verbal requests legal for EMAC deployments? +

    May a Requesting State and Assisting State make a verbal agreement through EMAC, or must the agreement be made in writing?

    Article III - Party State Responsibilities allows for verbal agreements for the request, offer, and acceptance of EMAC resources if the verbal request is followed up within thirty days of that verbal agreement in writing.

    Many states prefer to complete the paperwork prior to deployment. 

  • Can EMAC be used for all hazards? +

    Must a catastrophic disaster occur before EMAC may be activated, or may an emergency such as a snowstorm, or even extraordinary event not weather related, allow for EMAC activation?

    EMAC may be activated for any emergency or disaster that has been declared by the governor of a state, not just for catastrophes such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

    As an example:  The 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree held in West Virginia was declared by the Governor and states deployed law enforcement, medical resources, communications equipment, and more through EMAC in support of the event. 

  • What credentials do I need to take on an EMAC deployment? +

    What are some examples of “minimally acceptable” credentials for deployed personnel under EMAC?

    EMAC Personnel Credentials“Minimally acceptable” credentials for EMAC-deployed personnel include such items as a U.S. passport, agency-issued identification card or badge, and state-issued identification (such as a driver’s license), and the EMAC Mission Order Authorization Form or copy of duly executed REQ-A. 

    You may be asked to bring a copy of your license or certification by the Requesting State. 

  • Who can deploy on an EMAC mission? +

    Who can deploy on an EMAC mission?

    For tort liability and immunity purposes, are all personnel deployed from a given Assisting State automatically considered “agents of the state”?

    State employees of an Assisting State are automatically protected by the Compact.  To bring on non-state employees, a state will need to cloaks those personnel as temporary legal agents of their home state.  This is routinely done through intrastate legislation being passed in that home state or through the use of memorandums of agreement. Contact your home state emergency management agency to learn how you state can do this.


  • Who manages operations in each of the EMAC Member States? +

    The state emergency management agencies within the EMAC Member States are responsible for the implementation of EMAC. 

    Resources deploy through the state emergency management agencies when deploying through EMAC.

  • Can states have a zero dollar mission? +

    Can a state “donate” resources or services to another state?

    Absolutely!  States may certainly provide resources or services to emergency-impacted states at no charge.

    To show that this “donation” is being made, the Request for Assistance, or REQ-A, between the two states must show “zero” as the cost estimate for that resource or service.

    It is not uncommon for states to only charge overtime and travel expenses as their personnel receive excellent on the job training when deployed!

  • Can the federal government use EMAC to request resources from states? +

    Congress ratified EMAC as Public Law 104-321, but EMAC is an interstate mutual aid compact and, as such, the sharing of resources is only between the member states.

    During a large-scale event, EMAC teams might be deployed to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and possibly the Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCCs) to coordinate the state response through EMAC with the federal response.

  • May states send EMAC resources without workers comp or liability protections? +

    This is possible if the volunteers and the state emergency management agency have signed a side agreement (such as a memorandum of agreement) that withholds the workers compensation or liability protections.

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