Prior to 2004, EMAC was primarily used in the deployment of state emergency management and National Guard personnel. That changed in 2004, when Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan battered Florida's coast, and Florida's emergency management director, Craig Fugate (now FEMA administrator), called upon EMAC to deliver response and recovery personnel, equipment, and supplies from every major discipline (law enforcement, fire and hazmat, medical, public health, emergency management, National Guard, animal resources, engineers, and more).
The 2004 EMAC response consisted of more than 800 state and local personnel from 38 states (including California, which was not an EMAC member at that time). The cost was approximately $15 million in personnel, equipment, and National Guard expenditures.
While states had learned that they needed to develop EMAC training and pass intrastate mutual aid legislation enabling a seamless response from in-state resources through EMAC, time did not wait. In 2005, states were asked to use EMAC in the nation's largest mutual aid response in history.
The 2005 response under EMAC scaled operations more than 20 times more than those of 2004: member states combined deployed nearly 66,000 personnel in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. The Gulf Coast states relied heavily on support through EMAC to supplement their own emergency response efforts. During the first two weeks of the response, personnel deploying under EMAC represented approximately 53% of the total personnel (GAO-07-854 Emergency Management Assistance Compact Report).
Some interesting facts about the 2005 deployments include the following (from the 2005 EMAC After-Action Report):
Today, EMAC stands as the primary mutual aid system in the nation. Both intrastate and international mutual aid agreements are modeled afer EMAC.
To engage the multitude of response and recovery disciplines, EMAC has developed the EMAC Advisory Group, composed of the national organizations that have been or may be deployed under EMAC. The EMAC Member States are committed to educating all disciplines about how EMAC works so that mutual aid under EMAC can be both effective and efficient.
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