order to receive federal public assistance through state
governments. In other words, both state and federal laws give
local governments legal reasons to collaborate with state and
Grants and finances provide other incentives for vertical
collaboration. Basically, the grant process can be viewed as a key
reason why vertical collaboration occurs; vertical collaboration
is particularly essential for small counties (ID4, ID9, & ID13).
For them, vertical collaboration typically manifests itself in the
form of grant relationship. Local governments rely heavily on
grants from state and federal governments to fund positions and
arrange EM training and exercises because they usually lack the
budget resources. EM directors of counties and big cities with
larger populations (i.e., those who were interviewed in this
study), also work closely with state governments to ensure that
they follow the state guidelines for grant applications in order
to be eligible to receive grants (ID10, ID11, ID14, & ID15).
Local governments seeking additional resources during a
disaster are also critically motivated to pursue vertical
collaboration. This refers to the basic vertical chain system of
requesting resources through state and federal governments
when local governments have exhausted their own resources
responding to a disaster. But local governments remain the
primary actor according to the local priority principle.
One county EM director describes this vertical chain
system as follows:
When the county has utilized all its resources and needs
more help, the first step is to reach out to the state and
ask the state to provide additional assistance. The state
will send us what we need or what they can send us.
And then after that, the state will do the same [thing].
They will ask the federal government for help and the
federal government will be going to provide assistance.
But both the state and federal governments support the
local governments, the county governments. So at the