PA 07-56—HB 7024

Public Safety and Security Committee

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CREATING AN INTRASTATE MUTUAL AID SYSTEM

SUMMARY: This act establishes the Intrastate Mutual Aid Compact (IMAC) and commits the state's political subdivisions (towns) to its terms. It provides a legal statewide mechanism for participating towns to request and provide mutual aid during a declared local civil preparedness emergency. IMAC is similar to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for states, which Connecticut enacted in 2000.

Any town may withdraw from IMAC by adopting a resolution to that effect, and member towns may enter into or remain in supplementary or other interlocal mutual aid agreements.

The act describes the responsibilities of local civil preparedness organizations, compact activation procedures, permit and license reciprocity, compact rights and liabilities, and reimbursement issues.

Existing law already allows towns to establish mutual aid civil preparedness agreements and address some of the same issues this act addresses. It also requires towns, if properly ordered, to make their civil preparedness forces available to provide assistance.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

COMPACT'S PURPOSE

The compact's stated purpose is to establish a statewide municipal mutual aid system for “participating political subdivisions,” which it defines as any political subdivision whose legislative body has not adopted a resolution withdrawing from the compact. The compact creates a mechanism for towns to (1) provide mutual aid to prevent, respond to, or recover from any disaster resulting in a town declaring a local civil preparedness emergency, subject to the town's criteria for a declaration, and (2) participate in disaster-related exercises, testing, or training.

MEMBERSHIP

All towns are automatically members of the compact, once enacted; any town may withdraw by adopting a resolution indicating its intent to do so. The withdrawal takes effect when the resolution is adopted. The town's chief executive officer must submit a copy of the resolution to the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) commissioner not later than 10 days after its adoption.

Compact membership does not preclude other inter-town mutual aid agreements or affect interlocal agreements to which towns are or may become parties.

DUTIES OF LOCAL CIVIL PREPAREDNESS ORGANIZATIONS

By law, every town (or towns acting jointly) must establish an organization to perform civil preparedness duties, in accordance with the state civil preparedness plan. The act requires that compact towns ensure that these duties include:

1. identifying potential hazards that may affect participating towns using a common identification system;

2. conducting joint planning, intelligence sharing, and threat assessment development with contiguous participating towns, and conducting joint training at least biennially;

3. identifying and inventorying current services, equipment, supplies, personnel, and other resources related to planning, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery activities of participating towns; and

4. adopting and implementing DEMHS' approved standardized incident-management system.

COMPACT ACTIVATION

If a serious disaster affects any participating town, the act allows the chief executive officer to declare a civil preparedness emergency. For compact purposes, the chief executive officer is the elected or appointed town official authorized to declare a local civil preparedness emergency by town charter or ordinance. The chief executive officer must notify the DEMHS commissioner of the declaration within 24 hours after making it. The declaration activates the town's emergency plan of operations and authorizes the request or furnishing of aid and assistance.

A chief executive officer must direct the request for assistance to the town's chief executive officer. He or she may make requests verbally or in writing and must report them to the DEMHS commissioner within 24 hours after making them. Compact provisions apply only to requests made by and to chief executive officers. Verbal requests must be confirmed in writing within 48 hours.

CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION AND PERSONNEL DEPLOYMENT

A town's obligation to provide aid under the compact is subject to certain conditions. First, the town requesting aid must declare a local civil preparedness emergency. Secondly, any responding town may withhold or recall resources it deems necessary to provide reasonable protection and services in its own jurisdiction.

Thirdly, a responding town's personnel follows its own emergency medical treatment and other protocols and standard operating procedures. Responding towns' personnel, assets, and equipment are under the responding towns' command and control. But they are under the operational control of the appropriate officials within the incident-management system of the town receiving assistance.

RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES

Responding personnel, including police, firefighters, and public works and other assigned personnel, providing aid during a locally declared civil preparedness emergency have the same rights, duties, privileges, and immunities as they have in their own towns. Unauthorized responders have no immunities, rights, or privileges under the compact.

Responding personnel under the operational control of the receiving town are considered employees of the responding town for liability purposes. Neither the participating towns nor their employees are legally responsible for death, personal injury, or property damage when complying or attempting to comply with the compact. But they are not shielded from lawsuits involving claims of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith.

REIMBURSEMENTS AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Participating towns must document any assets they provide during civil preparedness emergencies. Responding towns that want reimbursement must give notice of intent to file reimbursement claims when they provide the aid or as soon as possible afterwards. They have 30 days after they provide assistance to file their claims in writing. Towns that receive federal reimbursements must provide an appropriate share of the reimbursement to responding towns.

The act requires towns to resolve any reimbursement dispute within 30 days after written notice of the dispute. If unable to do so, any party may request arbitration within 90 days of the date on the claim notice. Arbitrators must use the American Arbitration Association's commercial arbitration rules. (Existing law has no procedures for resolving reimbursement disputes. )

LICENSE RECIPROCITY

People licensed, permitted, or certified in responding towns are qualified to perform in their areas of expertise in towns requesting their assistance during the declared local civil preparedness emergency. But, the compact permits a participating town's chief executive officer or a person or entity's sponsor hospital to limit the activities a person may perform.

OLR Tracking: VR: SP: JL: RO