As the Hurricane Florence response and recovery effort continues in the Carolinas and Virginia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued an advisory that allows states to send support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is a national interstate mutual aid agreement that enables states and local governments to share resources during times of disaster. EMAC has grown to become the nation’s system for providing mutual aid through operational procedures and protocols that have been validated through experience.
Deploying resources through EMAC leverages federal grant dollars, such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG), invested in state and local emergency management resource capabilities.
According to FEMA, as of September 16, 29 states have provided EMAC support to more than 90 missions and deployed 1,200 people to the following states:
- North Carolina: 60 missions with more than 780 people deployed.
- South Carolina: 26 missions with more than 400 people deployed.
- Virginia: eight missions with more than 80 people deployed.
EMAC resources may include various capabilities and resources like firefighting, law enforcement, medical personnel and equipment, emergency operations center support, and public utilities management. Through EMAC, states and local governments can join forces and help one another when they need it the most: whenever disaster strikes!
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In addition, FEMA’s Incident Management Assistance Teams have been deployed to state emergency operations centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. to support response activities. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) deployed 14 Incident Management Assistance Team members to Charleston, S.C. and Goldsboro, N.C. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed 131 personnel, and one company from the 249th Engineer Battalion, to the Carolinas and Virginia to assist states and tribes with temporary emergency power, debris removal, infrastructure assessments, water and wastewater assessment, temporary roofing and dam safety technical assistance.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is also working with its partners to respond to the impact of Hurricane Florence. According to DOE reports, 40,000 workers from at least 19 states have been mobilized to support restoration efforts. Unfortunately, power restoration may take several days, or even more in some areas, because of dangers associated with flooding.
Cities looking to provide direct assistance to areas impacted by Hurricane Florence should work through their State EMAC administrators and FEMA. Please visit https://www.emacweb.org/ for additional information about the EMAC program.
City leaders can also visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-florence to find out what they can do to help areas impacted by Hurricane Florence.
About the Author: Yucel (“u-jel”) Ors is the program director of public safety and crime prevention at the National League of Cities. Follow Yucel on Twitter at @nlcpscp.