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Mutual Aid Agreements (EMAC/IMAC)

 

IMAC logoIowa Mutual Aid Compact

The Iowa Mutual Aid Compact (IMAC), signed into law in 2002, is an intrastate mutual aid agreement that provides the mechanism for political subdivisions and emergency management commissions to share resources with one another during a disaster that has been declared either by the local jurisdiction or the governor. The Compact increases each member’s level of emergency preparedness, allowing them to work as a team when disasters are beyond local capabilities. Legislation passed during the spring 2009 legislative session provides for some important changes: emergency management commissions are now included as IMAC signatories, membership in the compact is automatic for all political subdivisions and Authorized Representatives are designated.

 

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IMAC Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. Who is included in the Iowa Mutual Aid Compact?
  2. What is a political subdivision?
  3. What if we already have 28E agreements?
  4. How much does it cost to belong to IMAC?
  5. Does there have to be an emergency declaration in place to use IMAC?
  6. Is a participating government required to render aid to the requesting party?
  7. Do IMAC requests have to go through Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD)?
  8. Do IMAC requests have to go through the county emergency management agency?
  9. How do I request assistance through IMAC?
  10. How do I fill out the Req-A form?
  11. How do I notify other participating governments of my IMAC request?
  12. What if we have several people controlling a particular asset in our jurisdiction?
  13. Who can be an Authorized Representative?
  14. If an emergency management coordinator receives a Req-A request for his/her services, can he/she sign the request as an Authorized Representative?
  15. What is the difference between an Authorized Representative and a Designated Contact?
  16. Who is responsible for updating Authorized Representative and Designated Contact information?
  17. How does a participating government withdraw from IMAC?

 

1. Who is included in the Iowa Mutual Aid Compact (IMAC)?

All emergency management commissions, counties, cities, townships and other political subdivisions are defined as “participating governments” under IMAC (IA Code Ch. 29C.22 §1a).
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2. What is a political subdivision?

Political subdivisions for our purposes in IMAC have three distinctive qualifiers:

a. A geographical boundary
b. Taxation authority
c. Elected officials

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3. What if we already have 28E agreements?

The IMAC legislation does not supersede or replace any other agreements political subdivisions may already have in place. It is, however, an efficient way to utilize mutual aid in a declared event. IMAC covers issues such as liability, reimbursement, professional licenses, etc.
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4. How much does it cost to belong to IMAC?

There are no costs associated with IMAC. However, if a political subdivision chooses to withdraw from the program, there may be costs associated with passing the local ordinance or resolution. Political subdivisions may incur internal costs associated with managing the program.
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5. Does there have to be an emergency declaration in place to use IMAC?

The answer is both yes and no.

  • Yes—if IMAC is being requested in response to an actual incident. In the case of an actual incident, the Compact can be utilized in the management of any emergency or disaster that is declared in accordance with a countywide comprehensive emergency operations plan (local declaration) or by the governor (Governor’s Proclamation). The emergency can be a result of a natural disaster, technological hazard, man-made disaster, community disorder, insurgency, terrorism or enemy attack (IA Code Ch. 29C.22 §1b).
  • No declaration is needed if IMAC is being used as part of an emergency-related exercise, test, or other training activity that simulates actions taken by participating governments during an emergency (IA Code Ch. 29C.22 §1c).
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6. Is a participating government required to render aid to the requesting party?

It is expected that participating governments will render aid to the extent they are capable without jeopardizing their own response capabilities. The Compact allows responding agencies to withhold resources to the extent necessary to provide reasonable protection for their own jurisdiction (IA Code Ch. 29C.22 § 4).
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7. Do IMAC requests have to go through Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD)?

HSEMD does not have to be involved in IMAC requests. Participating governments may request assistance of another participating government by contacting them directly (IA Code Ch. 29C.22 § 3b). HSEMD will be glad to assist if requested in locating resources.
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8. Do IMAC requests have to go through the county emergency management agency?

Although the legislation allows for participating governments to work directly with one another to provide mutual aid under IMAC, it is strongly suggested the county emergency management coordinator for both the requesting political subdivision and the assisting political subdivision be notified when an IMAC request is being negotiated, so they are aware the resource capability has been deployed.
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9. How do I request assistance through IMAC?

Requesting assistance will be simply communicating with another participating government and following up the verbal agreements (between Authorized Representatives) with the three part REQ-A form. There is a part four to the form that may be utilized to clarify the request or show any supplemental agreements that are being brokered. Assistance may also be requested through HSEMD. The state will help facilitate (but never obligate) the process between requesting and assisting agencies.
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10. How do I fill out the Req-A form?

A participating government seeking aid is referred to as the “requesting agency.” The requesting agency fills out Part I of the Req-A form detailing the type of aid being requested, special instructions, dates/duration needed and contact information. Part I is signed by an Authorized Representative for the requesting agency.

 

A participating government who is capable of providing the requested assistance and is willing to accept the IMAC mission is referred to as the “assisting agency.” The assisting agency will complete Part II of the Req-A form, detailing the level of assistance they are capable of providing, the costs associated with providing that assistance and a point of contact. Part II is signed by an Authorized Representative for the assisting agency.

 

The requesting agency reviews the information provided in Part II and either accepts the terms of Part II as written or negotiates changes with the assisting agency. Once the requesting party feels that the level of assistance and associated costs are acceptable, an Authorized Representative for the requesting agency signs Part III. When signed in all three parts it becomes a legally binding contract.
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11. How do I notify other participating governments of my IMAC request?

Participating governments may coordinate directly with other participating governments if they know where to find a needed resource to fulfill their IMAC request. Participating governments may contact HSEMD if assistance is needed in locating a resource or in broadcasting an IMAC request state-wide.
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12. What if we have several people controlling a particular asset in our jurisdiction?

In the case of shared resources, you will want to consult with your local political subdivisions legal counsel. The local political subdivisions legal counsel should be able to make the determination depending on the wording of the cooperative agreement, and the actual ownership and responsibility of the items in question.
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13. Who can be an Authorized Representative?

Recent changes to the IA Code 29C.22 now define “Authorized Representative of a participating government” to mean a mayor or the mayor’s designee, a member of the county board of supervisors or a representative of the board, or an emergency management coordinator or the coordinator’s designee (IA Code 29C.22 § 3e). If a political subdivision does not have one of the authorities listed above, Authorized Representatives may be an elected official, trustee, or any other person empowered to obligate resources and expend funds on behalf of the political subdivision.
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14. If an emergency management coordinator receives a Req-A request for his/her services, can he/she sign the request as an Authorized Representative?

Yes. The statute gives the emergency management coordinator (or designee) the authority to act as Authorized Representative for the Emergency Management Commission. If emergency management resources are requested, we encourage the emergency management coordinator to check with their commission before agreeing to assist.
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15. What is the difference between an Authorized Representative and a Designated Contact?

  • An “Authorized Representative” is the person empowered to obligate county/city/political subdivision resources and expend county/city/political subdivision funds for IMAC purposes.
  • A “Designated Contact” is a person who is very familiar with the IMAC process. This person serves as the point of contact for IMAC in their county/city/political subdivision and can discuss the details of a request for assistance. This person is not usually legally empowered to initiate an IMAC request or authorize IMAC assistance without direction from an Authorized Representative.
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16. Who is responsible for updating Authorized Representative and Designated Contact information?

Under previous legislation, HSEMD served as a centralized location for Authorized Representative and Designated Contact information. It was the responsibility of each participating government to provide HSEMD updated contact information for these individuals. Participating government are no longer required to provide HSEMD this information as law changes designate a “position” rather than a person.

 

Recent changes to the IA Code 29C.22 specifically identify who the Authorized Representatives are, by position. As a result, the assignment of secondary and tertiary Authorized Representatives and the assignment of Designated Contacts are now voluntary. The Authorized Representative and Designated Contact forms will remain on the HSEMD website for optional use by participating governments.
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17. How does a participating government withdraw from IMAC?

Any participating government may withdraw from the Compact by adopting an ordinance or resolution repealing participation of the political subdivision in the IMAC program. The governing body of the participating government must provide the administrator of HSEMD written notice of the withdrawal. The withdrawal will become effective 30 days after written notice is provided to the administrator (IA Code 29C.22 § 11b).
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EMAC logo/Link to EMAC websiteEmergency Management Assistance Compact

The Department’s responsibilities sometimes extend beyond state boundaries. HSEMD works with other states to provide resources through the national Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). Since Iowa became a member of EMAC in 1997, it has deployed many state and local government resources to other states.

 

During response to the Parkersburg EF5 tornado and subsequent historic flooding that impacted Iowa in the spring and summer of 2008, Iowa’s resource capabilities were overwhelmed. Through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Iowa received a wide variety of resources from member states throughout the nation. Without this support, response to this event would have been much more challenging.

 

In the fall of 2008, Iowa provided assistance through EMAC to Texas in response to Hurricane Ike. In spring 2009, Iowa assisted North Dakota during a record flooding event. Iowa continues to participate in EMAC exercises with neighboring states, and serves as the lead state representative for FEMA Region VII and is a member of the Executive Task Force. Iowa’s HSEMD representative continues to provide EMAC presentations throughout the region and mentoring other member states in our FEMA region.

 

In addition, HSEMD is involved in many state-to-state, regional, and national collaborations for important initiatives including catastrophic and special needs populations planning and agroterrorism emergency response planning.