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Florida City and County EM directors generally view NIMS as

a useful and important system/model to make people use the

same rules, structures, procedures to quickly respond to a

disaster (ID6, ID8, ID11, ID13, & ID14). People at different

places can use the same language to communicate, which helps

increase efficiency and decrease misunderstandings during an

emergency. Everyone can be on the same page. However, NIMS

still faces criticism when assessed from the local perspective. For

example, NIMS is criticized as a top-down system which is full

of paper-work and involves a tedious procedure. It is also hard

to use because FEMA keeps changing or revising the content of

NIMS. NIMS is criticized as a system that formalizes a lot of the

relationships that do not need to be formalized. Therefore, local

governments lose their flexibility to respond to incidents. A

county EM director argued that NIMS is a tool for the federal

government to intervene in local governments’ EM activities,

which undermines the principle that all disasters are local (ID4).

D. Hazard Recognition, Disaster Severity, and


In the theoretical framework, disaster magnitude is listed

as an external factor leading to an increase in collaboration in

both vertical and horizontal contexts. Several county EM

directors highlighted that hazard recognition and disaster

severity influence a local government’s attitude towards collabo-

ration. Two large county EM directors mentioned the following:

I think probably the greatest motivating factor for

collaboration is when they recognize that hazard exists

and could impact them. Agencies we traditionally

didn’t work with prior to the 2004 hurricane season,

we’re getting calls all the time after that . . . . Now some

of those people know

Okay, if you live in Florida, you

have a hurricane problem.

That goes across citizens,

business and industry, to government leaders. (ID3-1)