Legislation enabling Alaska to join the Emergency Mutual Aid Compact (EMAC) passed both houses of the state legislature in May without a dissenting vote.
According to the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), which coordinates the compact, seven states have joined EMAC since Sept. 11. The other six are Alabama, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and New York. The latter adopted the agreement six days after the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
The Hawaii and Wyoming legislatures rejected proposals to join EMAC this year. California has not pursued membership, says NEMA executive director Trina Hembree.
EMAC replaced the 1950s-era Civil Defense Compact with standard protocols for giving and receiving emergency aid, Hembree says. The agreement allows states in need to draw upon the nearest possible out-of-state expertise and resources.
Earlier this year, Office of Homeland Security policy director Richard Falkenrath told a group of businessmen and defense policy analysts that his team would recommend making participation in mutual aid agreements a prerequisite to receiving federal aid.