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WARN Questions and Answers

What is a WARN?

The Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) is a mutual aid and assistance network comprised of drinking water and wastewater utilities that provides other utilities within a state a means to quickly obtain help in the form of personnel, equipment, materials and associated services to restore critical operations impacted during any type of emergency, big or small. Assistance can be provided without a state or federal emergency declaration.

Do I have to pay to use the WARN?

Most (98 percent) WARNs across the country do not charge any fees to be a member.

Do WARNS need to be activated?

No, WARNs stand ready when needed and do not require an official activation to fulfill resource requests. Rather, each WARN receives and fulfills resource requests differently, and the process can be explained when a utility becomes a member. Most WARNs allow member utilities to connect directly with any other members when help is needed.

Are WARN utilities required to respond during emergencies?

No, membership in a WARN is completely voluntary and there is no obligation to respond during an emergency. A utility is only required to follow through if they commit to assisting a requesting utility. 

What are the benefits of being a WARN member?

  1. Expedites arrival of aid during an emergency by providing a single agreement that can be utilized by all member utilities statewide.
  2. Provides access to drinking water and wastewater professionals with specialized training and resources.
  3. Reduces administrative conflicts by providing an approved agreement that a requesting and lending utility can use during an emergency.
  4. Enhances emergency preparedness and coordination.
  5. Is consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

The WARN agreement spells out how liability, worker’s compensation, insurance and reimbursement will work between the assisting and requesting utility.

How can I find my local WARN?

To find your local WARN visit:, or download the Water Utility Response On-The-Go App and select the “Contact Response Partners” panel to access WARN Chair contact information.

Do I have to be a member to access WARN resources?

Yes, all member utilities are governed by a common WARN mutual aid agreement, but the only requirement to joining is a signed mutual aid agreement. The WARN agreement allows utilities to share resources in a more expedited way, compared to other mechanisms that may require a formal disaster declaration. The agreement spells out how liability, workers’ compensation, insurance and reimbursement will work.

Return to Water and Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARN) website