Multiagency coordination is a process that allows all levels of government and all disciplines to work together more efficiently and effectively. Multiagency coordination occurs across the different disciplines involved in incident management, across jurisdictional lines, or across levels of government. Multiagency coordination can and does occur on a regular basis whenever personnel from different agencies interact in such activities as preparedness, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation.
Often, cooperating agencies develop a Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) to better define how they will work together and to work together more efficiently; however, multiagency coordination can take place without established protocols. MACS may be put in motion regardless of the location, personnel titles, or organizational structure.
Initially the Incident Command/Unified Command and the Liaison Officer may be able to provide all needed mulitagency coordination at the scene. However, as the incident grows in size and complexity, off-site support and coordination may be required.
Integral elements of MACS are dispatch procedures and protocols, the incident command structure, and the coordination and support activities taking place within an activated Emergency Operations Center. Fundamentally, MACS provide support, coordination, and assistance with policy-level decisions to the ICS structure managing an incident.