The EMAC Process

EMAC has a 25+ year history of being the nation's preeminent mutual aid system. Success of the system is the engagement of stakeholders (state emergency management, local government, volunteers and private sector) working together throughout the 5 phases of the EMAC process.

Learn more about each phase of the EMAC process below.

Phase 1

Pre-Event Preparation
To ensure succcessful EMAC implemenation with states, State EMA's and Resource Providers from all jurisductions (state, county, local or private sector) have a responsibility to engage in Pre-Event Preparation before an emergency or disaster occurs. 

This includes the development of internal procedures for implementing EMAC, incorporate planning and lessons learned, resource allocation with neighboring states, conducting EMAC training and exercises in coopreration with State EMA/Resource Providers and developing Mission Ready Packages. 

All Jurisdictions Should: 

Phase 2


To receive resources through EMAC, a state's Governor must have declared an emergency or disaster which authorizes funds to be expended for response and recovery efforts and activating EMAC.

Even prior to the declaration, the affected state opens an event in the online EMAC Operations System (EOS), alerting both the National Coordinating State (NCS) and NEMA that a request for resources is likely.

Note: Only the affected state needs to declare an emergency or disaster.

Phase 3

Request and Offer

Once resource requests are sourced to EMAC, the request and offer process is initiated.

Resource requests are sourced starting with the closest states (time/distance).

The potential Assisting States assess their own risk level, and if able, use their in-state EMAC activation protocols to contact Resource Providers to determine availability and to submit offers of assistance. If Resource Providers have Mission Ready Packages (MRPs) this process takes less than a minute. 

The Requesting and Assisting State Emergency Management Agencies complete the EMAC Resource Support Agreement (RSA) for accepted offers of assistance. The completed RSA constitutes a legally binding agreement between the two states.

The process is facilitated through the EMAC Operations System (EOS).

Phase 4


Once the Resource Support Agreement (RSA) is complete resources prepare to Mobilize (prepare for their mission), Deploy (conduct the mission in the Requesting State), and Demobilize (return home).

It is critically important that Deploying Personnel receive a pre-deployment briefing, receive an EMAC Mission Order Authorization Form (Mission Order) prior to their deployment, are educated on EMAC, understand their responsibilities in tracking mission expenses and maintaining documentation, and maintain contact with their home state emergency management agency while on their deployment.

Due to the nature of the situation, deployed personnel will likely encounter difficult living and working circumstances, limited communications, traumatized residents and coworkers, long working hours, primitive field conditions, and other difficult situations. Deployed personnel routinely say going on an EMAC deployment has been the most rewarding event of their careers.

Phase 5


Deployed Personnel, Resource Providers, Assisting and Requesting States share the responsibility for the timely processing of reimbursements.

While the need for reimbursement guidance and required documentation is vital throughout all phases of the EMAC process, the reimbursement process starts with Deployed Personnel and Resource Providers submitting a reimbursement package to the Assisting State. Assisting States audit reimbursement packages that are sent to Requesting States who, upon completing an audit and resolving any outstanding issues, issue payment back to the Assisting State.


  • A state’s obligation to pay EMAC reimbursements is not contingent upon the receipt of federal funds.
  • The EMAC RSA, the legally binding agreement completed for every EMAC mission, is based upon estimated costs. Reimbursement costs should mirror; but will not exactly match the RSA.