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Exploring the dynamics

37

understand the latest information about the emergency and

determine what types of assistance they can offer. Local

restaurants or fast-food chain stores also donate food to rescue

staff, community volunteers, and disaster survivors. Local

grocery stores work with county EM agencies and try to remain

open as usual in order to ensure that local residents can readily

buy food, water, and other necessities during and after the

disaster; such efforts are important for the public to pass from

the response stage to the recovery stage. A city emergency

manager gave an example of Walgreen’s and Wal-Mart

partnering with the city through signing a Memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Through these documents, they signal their intention to identify

the needs of the localities and provide assistance (ID15-1).

Private companies or local businesses also collaborate

frequently with local EM agencies during normal times. For

instance, some county EM directors have stated that they

collaborated with hardware stores such as Home-Depot or

Lowe’s prior to disasters by advocating EM preparedness

activities through sponsored TV commercials. Such

collaborative activities provide local EM agencies a free chance

to garner the attention of the public through a TV spotlight.

Another private partner of local EM agencies are theme parks,

which are large mass gathering areas. There are many famous

theme parks in the State of Florida attracting many visitors each

year. These theme parks tend to continuously train employees

to efficiently evacuate visitors in times of an emergency. Local

EM agencies work closely with theme parks to ensure they have

adequate resources to mitigate the potential disasters and to

respond if the need arises.

Non-governmental organizations such as the American

Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, Southern Baptist

Kitchen, and Goodwill are other groups which regularly

collaborate with local governments. In order to understand fully

the profession and capability in each non-governmental