This Mutual Aid information is generic and non specific, as it can vary state to state. For example, California legislation has created systems that must be used under the force of state law so it will not be covered here.
Typically the jurisdiction flow for mutual aid to government is city - county - state and then to Federal when it comes to obtaining mutual aid for Fire and Law disciplines; Whether this applies to communications may depend on past experience and local policy. Thus, if a city's communications resources are committed to the limit, the city (local) emergency agency can go outside its area or jurisdiction to the county (or parish) and request mutual aid.
In some cases there are pre-established mutual aid agreements with adjoining neighboring jurisdictions. So if the county can not meet the mutual aid requirements, the county will go to adjacent county(s) for both urgent or planned needs (resources). If requirements exceed the resources available from the adjacent county(s) then they normally go to their State OES for assistance.
The mutual aid system in each state may be somewhat different than another state, so it is imperative to know the local system. To illustrate a typical state EOC, its primary responsibility is to establish a single point-of-contact for providing both an urgent and planned mutual aid response from other organizations located within the State for any jurisdiction as required. The State EOC also handles Federal agency relationships and direct contact with the state governor, and communications with other States. It is also the channel for the flow of Federal Mutual Aid, as from FEMA, or coordination of events involving Federal agencies, such as the FBI, Department of Treasury, etc., with the State.
Resource order control is typically used by all states as a matter of identifying events and responsibilities. A designated lead agency (likely the SOC- State Operations Center) will issue such control numbers. This may be a resource order/mission/incident number. Most states and local governments require these to be on the resource order of the mutual aid organization along with that organizations resource order/mission/incident number. Again, local practices control, and no two state situations may a be exactly the same.
There may be times when an operator wants to operate outside their organizations jurisdiction without an OFFICIAL request for agency mutual aid or a resource order from the outside agency in the normal mutual aid channels. Based on past experience we urge extreme caution in 'outside activity situations' as there are several variables that can lead to severe problems which cannot be covered in this bulletin; and that does not include the so- called 'convergent volunteer' situation. At the very least, in such situations, the volunteer should check with their agency representative and organizational officer for an official okay before responding.
See next bulletin: EXERCISE OR INCIDENT OPERATIONS