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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Model Mutual Aid Agreements for Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22542.
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Survey results from 32 airports of all sizes and types representing all geographical regions of the U.S. reveal that nearly all use some form of mutual aid agreements, with an average of slightly more than four mutual aid agreements for the typical airport. (Thirty-two airports responded out of 34 that were queried, for a response rate of 94%.) Written agreements are nearly two times more common than verbal agreements, but the balance between the two varies from airport to airport. Some airports avoid mutual aid agreements entirely, while some avoid only written agreements. Larger airports tend to have more written agreements, but airport size appears not to be a factor in the number of verbal agreements. Mutual aid agreements address nearly every type of emergency that could affect an airport and also require outside resources. Fewer examples involve an airport providing assistance to an outside agency. Most of the agreements are with public entities, the American Red Cross, or hospitals, but a few were found between airports and private corporations. This study identifies applicable effective practices as well as desirable features of mutual aid agreements. These features are: an “escape clause” that explains when operational situations such as Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Index requirements may restrict a response; support from airport senior management; clarity of agency or personnel responsibility; legal review of agreement by airport’s counsel; identification of parties; identification of types of emergencies covered; identification of specific types of aid to be provided; clear communications protocols; the specific timeframe in which aid will be provided; restrictions that may limit or prevent provision of aid; legal basis (enabling legislation or ordinance) for the mutual aid agreement; incorporation in whole or by reference in the airport emergency plan (where the airport has an emergency plan); full compliance with the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System in every aspect; security and access provisions developed in consultation with the Transportation Security Administration and law enforcement; safety provisions con- sistent with airport’s Safety Management System; contact lists; effective date of agreement; schedule for review and revision of agreement; schedule and procedures for updating contact information; training requirements and schedule to support agreement; drill schedule; exercise schedule; documentation requirements; and procedures for after-action review. Three generalized templates from FAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are provided in Appendix C. A checklist for the development of a written mutual aid agree- ment is provided as Appendix F. Seven actual agreements are reproduced to illustrate the range of such agreements. (The sample and model mutual aid agreements presented in this report have not under- gone legal review as a part of this study. Airports that use or adapt a model agreement usually have it reviewed by legal counsel.) Six areas of further research are identified: legal research into liability; enabling legisla- tion for mutual aid agreements or statewide regional emergency management pacts, and the procedures for airports to become involved in them; methods and metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of mutual aid agreements and the actions taken under them; exploration of how mutual aid agreements might be extended into the mitigation and recovery phases of emergency management; relationship-building and communications to sustain vibrant mutual aid agree- ments over time; and continuity of operations and airport resiliency as they relate to mutual aid. SUMMARY MODEL MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS FOR AIRPORTS

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 45: Model Mutual Aid Agreements for Airports presents information on mutual aid agreements, addressing nearly every type of emergency that could affect airports and require outside resources. The report is designed to assist airport operators in creating and sustaining effective emergency management mutual aid partnerships by documenting the specifics of existing agreements.

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