SMA Frequently Asked Questions

Can you provide a disc or e-mail attachment so we don’t have to retype the six-page authorizing resolution?

Send an e-mail to jason.eaton@vdem.virginia.gov.  You can also download it directly from the VDEM website.

After we complete the authorizing resolution, where do we send it?

Counties: Send one copy to the Virginia Association of Counties  and one copy to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, as follows:

  • Mr. James D. Campbell
    Executive Director
    Virginia Association of Counties
    1001 East Broad Street
    Suite LL 20
    Richmond, VA 23219-1928
  • Mr. Jason Eaton
    Logistics Section Chief
    Virginia Department of Emergency Management
    10501 Trade Court
    Richmond, VA 23236

Cities and eligible towns: Send one copy to the Virginia Municipal League and one copy to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, as follows:

  • Mr. R. Michael Amyx
    Executive Director
    Virginia Municipal League
    P.O. Box 12164
    13 East Franklin Street
    Richmond, VA 23241
  • Mr. Jason Eaton
    Logistics Section Chief
    Virginia Department of Emergency Management
    10501 Trade Court
    Richmond, VA 23236

Is there any potential conflict between SMA and existing mutual aid agreements?

No.  The SMA Committee was very careful to emphasize that the program is not intended to interfere or conflict in any way with existing reciprocal mutual aid agreements between neighboring jurisdictions or other mutual aid arrangements already in place and working.  In fact, we encourage localities and state agencies to keep such agreements in place.  The primary intent of SMA is to make local resources more easily available statewide should they be needed in response to a major disaster, to minimize otherwise problematic issues related to insurance, liability and reimbursement.

Are towns eligible to participate?

Only those towns a.) with a population greater than 5,000 and b.) that choose to have an official emergency management organization separate from their county.  Virginia has five eligible towns: Chincoteague (less than 5,000 but exempted because of its special coastal flooding hazard), Christiansburg, Farmville, South Boston and Vinton.  Other towns should participate with the support of their county.  This way, the county would handle the administrative details, and the town would have better liability and reimbursement protection, and the county would support the town should there be any SMA deployment-related problems.  Town officials are encouraged to discuss with the county how liability coverage can best be provided when deploying personnel to another county or city.  If town firefighters don’t already carry such protection, the county may be able to help obtain it at a reasonable cost.

Is SMA applicable for small-scale events that do not qualify under a “major disaster” declaration?

Although intended primarily for “major disasters,” there is sufficient flexibility for SMA to be implemented for smaller events as well.  For smaller events or when a Presidential major disaster declaration is not certain, obtaining resources through SMA becomes a judgment call for local officials.  Being practical, it is unlikely that an impacted locality will use SMA unless there is a serious threat to life and property.  SMA used under a Governor’s state of emergency declaration may be eligible for reimbursement.  Reimbursement can also occur under the Commonwealth Emergency Relief for Localities program.

If the president declared a major disaster, assistance could be available through federal programs. A well-documented SMA deployment will greatly help the reimbursement process.

Is the state going to be willing to guarantee reimbursement?  They often did so before SMA.  Why is SMA an improvement?

When used, the SMA Event Agreement becomes a contract to provide specific services for a predetermined estimate of total costs.  The process is meant to:

  • Provide the best available assistance as soon as possible.
  • Be more cost-effective than obtaining state, federal or private resources.
  • Be the best way to obtain assistance in response to a small-scale, localized disaster.
  • Be an incentive for localities to collectively become more self-reliant.
  • Actually maximize opportunities for state-federal reimbursement because it is so well documented.

Helping each other in time of serious need is something localities want to do anyway.  SMA makes it feasible and, in doing so, eliminates most concerns and uncertainties related to liability and reimbursement.

Several statements in the SMA Guidebook concerning workers’ compensation appear to be conflicting.  Who pays?  What if there is no coverage?

Misleading statements in the July 2000 version of the guidebook about workers’ compensation have been deleted, and a statement has been added to the Event Agreement form for clarification.  The intent has always been that the Assisting Party would be responsible for workers’ compensation coverage and claims.  If a third party caused harm to your employee that resulted in a workers’ compensation claim, the same legal rules would apply as if it happened in your locality.

Who will be responsible for overtime pay?

How overtime will be handled should be included in Part II of the Event Agreement or contract to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding.  Normally, it should be in accordance with existing procedures as if the deployment were within the Assisting Party’s home locality.  However, some flexibility is provided here as well.  The goal is, when it’s all over, to have accomplished a safe deployment that will have been truly helpful and cost-effective from everybody’s perspective.  In the spirit of SMA, it is very important that Assisting Parties not be perceived as having taken monetary advantage of the situation.

If my locality wants to implement SMA, can I contact the State EOC for guidance?

Yes.  A staff duty officer is always on call to assist you.  The State EOC 24-hour number is (804) 674-2400.  During normal duty hours, you may contact the Logistics Section Chief directly via e-mail: jason.eaton@vdem.virginia.gov or phone: (804) 674-2400.  All requests for assistance will be coordinated through the State EOC so that the best available assistance can be provided as soon as possible.  Generally, state resources will be coordinated through the State EOC and local resources will be coordinated, at least where both parties are SMA-member localities, through SMA.

How many localities have signed on?  How about _______ County/City?

The current listing of SMA member localities is posted on the VDEM Web site at  www.vaemergency.com/programs/sma.

If you have additional questions, please submit them via e-mail to Jason Eaton, Resource Management Coordinator, at jason.eaton@vdem.virginia.gov.

 

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund