Public works Mutual Aid Program
The Mutual Aid Pact for Public Works was an outgrowth of The Center for Local Government’s Collaboration Committee’s discussion in 1993 about the need to develop some mechanism that would allow local jurisdictions to have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities assumed when giving assistance to other jurisdictions in emergency situations.
Some of the items that members of that committee felt should be addressed included liability in the event of an accident involving one jurisdiction’s equipment or personnel while serving in another jurisdiction, liability in the event of an accident involving a member of the public, duration of use of equipment or work crews following an emergency, and the definition of an emergency. Committee members felt that clarifying these kinds of issues in advance of an emergency would allow for better response to emergencies when they occur.
To quote from the introduction to the Pact itself, “This mutual aid contract is an attempt, prior to the actual occurrence of a disaster, to facilitate recognition of emergency demands and make the response of participating communities more effective.”
The Mutual Aid Pact defines a “disaster” as “…the occurrence, or imminent threat, of widespread or severe loss of property of life which exceeds the routine capabilities of local governmental, health care, and other community agencies. The most common disasters include floods, major fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other emergencies which occur with little or no warning.”
This pact covers the provision of “aid, assistance, manpower or equipment” that would normally be associated with the kinds of services provided by a Public Works Department. It is understood that Mutual Aid pacts already exist for police and fire services.
Each signatory jurisdiction receives a Mutual Aid Manual which includes an inventory of the typically requested kinds of equipment for each signing jurisdiction. Jurisdictions who need assistance are then able to review the inventory to identify where the appropriate equipment is located. The Manual also lists the contact people for each signer, with daytime, evening, and weekend telephone numbers. The Chief Administrative Officer (City Manager, Township Administrator, Village Administrator, or Safety Service Director) or that person’s designee can request aid from another signatory jurisdiction by calling the appropriate contact person.
Each signatory jurisdiction remains completely free to determine for itself whether or not it is in a position to respond to any request for aid. If the jurisdiction needs its resources for the area it normally services, it is not obligated to send that equipment or manpower elsewhere. Each signatory also remains free to give and receive aid from any other jurisdiction.
Further, if a jurisdiction receives a request for aid from another signer of the Pact, and has already committed its resources to a different jurisdiction which is not signatory to the Pact, the jurisdiction from whom aid has been requested is not under any obligation to break the previously made commitment.
The key advantages to signing this pact are that (1) it clearly spells out the terms for provision of mutual aid in one agreement and eliminates any requirement to enter into multiple agreements, and (2) the inventory and phone list expedites searching for needed resources.
Mutual Aid Pact Participants:
The jurisdictions which have signed the Mutual Aid Pact for Public Works are:
Amberley Village, Anderson Township, Blue Ash, Cleves, Colerain Township, Deer Park, Deerfield Township, Delhi Township, Evendale, Fairfax, Fairfield, Glendale, Greenhills, Indian Hill, Lebanon, Liberty Township, Lockland, Loveland, Madeira, Mason, Middletown, Milford, Monroe, Montgomery, Mt. Healthy North College HIll, Reading, Sharonville, Silverton, Springboro, Springdale, Springfield Township, Washington Township, West Chester Township, Woodlawn