According to FEMA, “mutual assistance agreements and assistance agreements are agreements between agencies, organizations and jurisdictions, which provide a mechanism for quickly obtaining emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, equipment and other related services.” The U.S.-Canada treaty calls for the promotion and facilitation of adequate cooperation between provinces and states in the area of emergency management. The Stafford Act requires the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “provide all viable assistance to states when it comes to organizing, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, emergency reciprocal assistance between states and neighbouring countries.” 8 One of the tasks of the U.S.-Mexico Border Surveillance Commission is to establish a system for collecting health data and monitoring health problems in the U.S.-Mexico border area. The PPS, launched on March 23, 2005 by the leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada, provides for a “healthier North America.” In line with this objective, PPS efforts include enhanced information-sharing mechanisms, the development of mutual legal assistance protocols, the implementation by the United States and Mexico of guidelines developed by the Health and Mexico Working Group for the coordination of common-interest epidemiological events by the United States and Mexico, and the implementation of an infectious disease surveillance system (EWIDS). For the latter element, DHS 20 border states and Mexico allocate funds for the development of EWIDS systems in conjunction with cross-border provinces or states in Canada and Mexico respectively. In response to the growing recognition of the importance of mutual assistance agreements, the Public Health Law Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made efforts to characterize the legal framework for mutual assistance. In particular, the programme collected information on mutual assistance and related laws for the categories of intergovernmental and international mutual assistance, systematically established and synthesized information, conducted basic complementary legal research, and evaluated and identified legal approaches to achieving effective mutual assistance. These efforts included meetings, follow-up and participation in the activities of several groups that participated, at the national level, in projects to improve state mutual assistance to other states or against other states in Mexico and Canada. Regardless of the type of mutual assistance, mutual assistance agreements are essential in defining the rules, procedures and procedures to be followed in terms of the exchange of information, resources or personnel. In particular, with regard to the sharing of resources or staff, binding agreements must necessarily deal with the issues of liability, reimbursement and compensation for workers. Mutual assistance agreements (MAA) and other types of assistance agreements before, during and after an emergency meeting facilitate the rapid mobilization of personnel, equipment and stocks.
Agreements can be concluded at several levels: between public and local authorities; between a state and localities in the state; between two or more states in a region; between states and tribes; internationally between states and neighbouring jurisdictions in Canada or Mexico. MAAS can also exist among a wide range of types of organizations, including governments, non-profit organizations and private companies. Agreements can range in the form of formal pacts introduced into law by a state legislator, up to informal declarations of intent explaining how public and private resources provide assistance within a given community.