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Collaboration is about building relationships, especially

in the pre-disaster environment. Nobody wants to meet

somebody for the first time when the worst disaster

comes in, especially in this small rural community such

as we are.


A good relationship in a normal times period can be

developed by accumulating positive experiences in daily

interaction and communication. Regularly keeping in touch

with current or potential partners whom you may know from

the workplace or training workshops and further creating

friendships with them is also thought to be a strategy for

establishing good relationships. Another EM coordinator from

a large county explained the following:

The relationship, you’re going to stay in touch with

them and become friends with them. I would say we are

good friends with most communities, people from

organizations we deal with. So you have friendship

more than just a business association. . . . So it is about

going from business partnership to actual relationship.

And staying in touch in the off time even when we are

not meeting. (ID3-2)

In sum, for local EM agencies, creating and maintaining

good informal and formal relationships with all current and

potential partners is critical since collaboration is always

expected and demanded. Local EM agencies believe that

collaboration may break down when the relationship becomes

inharmonious. Therefore, they try hard to keep good

relationships with partners to prevent disharmony and conflicts.

IX. Discussion

On the basis of the above interview findings, this study

discussed the activities, rationales, and common drivers of three

different types of EM collaboration (Figure 2). Regarding vertical