04/04/12 During the County Commissioner’s meeting this week the discussion of mutual aid agreements was brought up because of EMA Director Clyde Avery’s recent deployment with the District 2 Incident Management Team to southern Indiana.

If a tornado was to touch-down in a community in Marshall County today you can be assured that emergency responders from surrounding communities would come to the aid of the community experiencing the devastation.

Avery said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have multiple agencies responding together to the same incident in the county.”  This type of assistance is mutual aid by a hand-shake agreement.  He explained in the case of a major disaster FEMA is willing to reimburse a community up to 75% but they require documentation, or mutual aid agreements, which we do not have in Marshall County.

The devastation in southern Indiana has emergency responders who have been working the scene for several weeks.  This situation, where extended help is needed brings in the issue of funding for manpower, equipment and fuel just to name a few to the community receiving the assistance.

Avery explained that mutual aid agreements between communities can be written any way they want.  He gave an example saying:  the first 8 hours would be provided at no cost and then spelling out the cost of manpower per person per hour, costs for equipment usage and fuel to operate the equipment.

Diligent documentation is key to obtain federal reimbursement.  Avery said clean up costs are expensive and budgets are tight to help recouping the communities expenses should be top priority.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said, “We tried to get mutual aid agreements several years ago and were unsuccessful.  I think sometimes agencies are concerned about the liability issue.”

Avery said, “We lost out on money with the blizzard event last year because I couldn’t get all the agencies in the various communities to submit their paperwork.”

Commissioner Jack Roose suggested putting pressure on the various agencies to get agreements in place.

EMA Director Clyde Avery will appear on the “What’s Your Opinion Show” this Friday at 9:45 to talk about his deployment and the need for mutual aid agreements.