Emergency officials should meet regularly with government authorities, community organizations and specialized response organizations to discuss emergencies and their ability to provide resources. Mutual assistance agreements should facilitate the rapid and short-term delivery of emergency assistance before, during and after an incident. However, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) planning guide indicates that a response from public or federal resources can take up to 72 hours or more. Texas assessed its legal capacity to enter into cooperation agreements with Mexican states for the exchange of epidemiological information and concluded that it had no legal jurisdiction over the cross-border exchange of confidential health information. It also found that a provision of the U.S. Constitution (which has been discussed in advance) constitutes a federal law that impedes entry into binding agreements.15 Lawyers in some states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin, in conjunction with the EWIDS project, reviewed and analyzed the data protection and privacy laws of each of these states to develop an agreement to share health information with each other and with the Province of Ontario in Canada16.16 Assistance agreements accelerate emergency measures by pre-fixing protocols for the requirement and provision of assistance and the definition of reimbursement and compensation policies and procedures. , eliminating or reducing the scope of negotiation of these issues. Formal pre-event assistance agreements may also expedite FEMA`s reimbursement of services, equipment and supplies provided as part of mutual assistance. FEMA reimburses the costs of mutual assistance when assistance has been requested (i.e. no spontaneous assistance), assistance requested directly in the context of a disaster eligible for FEMA assistance and which was carried out under a written assistance agreement signed.2 The assistance agreement must apply in all situations, and not just for events that trigger an emergency/disaster declaration of the Stafford Act or are the subject of a request for federal assistance.
Only the organization seeking mutual assistance can apply directly for financial assistance from FEMA; Aid agencies must demand a refund from the requesting organization. FEMA reimburses the assistance agreements orally, but they must be recorded in writing after the event and signed by an official of each institution as a condition for the reimbursement of the FemA. Mutual assistance agreements and other types of assistance agreements facilitate the rapid sharing of emergency aid and resources between governments and organizations at all levels. These can include existing agreements, such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), or the creation of new tools to deal with emerging events or parts outside of existing compacts. Depending on the nature and extent of an agreement, the laws of a state may govern the formation and operation of the mutual assistance agreement. (Download a printable PDF.) Although the Foreign Office recommends congressional approval of binding agreements as the safest legal means, the Office has been consulted on general guidelines indicating that prosecutors can enter into binding agreements that raise fewer constitutional doubts. While it must first be noted that the proposed agreement would not be contrary to a federal initiative, this does not appear to be a problem, given the State`s promotion of the state`s mutual assistance agreements by the Confederation. Moreover, with regard to an international agreement, it may be desirable that such an agreement contains a language confirming that the state is bound by its own federal laws and laws, that there is no intention to create a binding international law, that a state can withdraw from the agreement at any time and that it cannot be construed as interference with federal authority.24