When the large fire broke out at the warehouse in Menominee in October of this year, first responders quickly realized the incident was one they would be unable to handle alone. As is often the case when battling a large fire, the Menominee Fire Department put out a call for help from other departments. However, given Menominee’s location in comparison to the rest of Michigan, help from within the state may have to come from several hours away. Many fire departments rely on existing agreements through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), an organization that allows participating departments to share resources when responding to a fire or other incident. However, MABAS is designed for in-state, which presented a problem for Menominee fire officials as they began looking for assistance from Wisconsin communities. To help make resources available Michigan activated the Northern Emergency Management Assistance Compact (NEMAC). Wisconsin Emergency Management Public Information Officer Andrew Beckett says, “Wisconsin Emergency Management role was to assist with getting the NEMAC request moving.”

Beckett says, “tools like the Northern Emergency Management Assistance Compact are really vital.”

Overall, 15 Wisconsin fire departments answered the call to send strike teams to Menominee under NEMAC, providing firefighters and other essential equipment. The fire in Menominee burned for 16 days and destroyed large portions of a 560,000-square-foot warehouse.