Mutual Aid Agreements California

Mutual aid agreements California: What you need to know

Mutual aid agreements are an important resource for communities and organizations to have when facing natural disasters, public health emergencies, or other crises. In California, where wildfires, earthquakes, and other disasters are common, mutual aid agreements can mean the difference between life and death.

Here`s what you need to know about mutual aid agreements in California.

What are mutual aid agreements?

Mutual aid agreements are formal agreements between two or more entities (such as cities, counties, or states) that agree to provide assistance to each other in the event of a disaster or emergency. The agreements provide a framework for coordinating resources, personnel, and other assistance in a streamlined and efficient manner.

In California, mutual aid agreements are regulated by the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is a nationwide mutual aid system established by the federal government in 1996.

Who can enter into mutual aid agreements in California?

In California, mutual aid agreements can be entered into by any public agency, including cities, counties, special districts, state agencies, and public utilities. Private organizations can also participate in mutual aid agreements if they have been pre-approved by the state.

What types of resources can be shared through mutual aid agreements?

Under mutual aid agreements, communities and organizations can share a wide range of resources, including personnel, equipment, supplies, and facilities. For example, if a city is hit by a major earthquake and their emergency services personnel are overwhelmed, they could request assistance from neighboring cities through a mutual aid agreement. The neighboring cities could then send additional personnel and equipment to help the affected city.

What are the benefits of mutual aid agreements?

Mutual aid agreements are beneficial for several reasons. First and foremost, they provide support and assistance in times of crisis when resources may be limited. They also enhance coordination and communication between different agencies and organizations, which can help to ensure a more effective response to emergencies. Additionally, mutual aid agreements can save communities money by allowing them to share resources and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

How do you establish a mutual aid agreement in California?

To establish a mutual aid agreement in California, the parties involved must first sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the terms of the agreement. The MOU must be approved by the governing bodies of each entity involved and must follow the guidelines established by the EMAC. Once the MOU is signed, the parties can begin sharing resources and coordinating their efforts in the event of an emergency.


Mutual aid agreements are an essential tool for communities and organizations in California to prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies. By sharing resources and coordinating their efforts, entities can ensure a more effective response and minimize the impact of emergencies on their communities. If you haven`t already, consider establishing a mutual aid agreement with neighboring communities or organizations to be better prepared for an emergency.