Congress makes it easier for cross border emergency cooperation

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A bill passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress could make it easier for emergency responders in the northeastern United States and Canada to work in the other country.

Officials say the International Emergency Management Assistance Memorandum provides the legal framework for what has long been the practice along the border.

But Vermont Emergency Management Director Barbara Farr says the bill will not make it faster for fire departments or ambulance crews in one country to respond to an emergency in the other country.

She says separate agreements are needed to accomplish that goal.

The new agreement grew out of the need to share emergency resources highlighted by the 1998 ice storm that ravaged parts of the Northeast and adjacent areas of Canada.

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