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Although local governments may collaborate with federal and

state governments for grants, trainings, resources, information,

legal requirements, or agenda-setting, local emergency

managers still think vertical collaboration is relatively less

common than horizontal collaboration. They are sometimes

afraid of intervention from higher levels of governments. Local

governments emphasize the principle that “all disasters are local”

and want to strengthen their autonomy.

They view higher levels of governments as supporters rather

than commanders. However, they acknowledge that when

disasters happen, federal officials come afterwards and try to

take charge and override local actions.

In the horizontal context, local governments frequently

collaborate with public agencies, other local governments,

business industries, and non-profit organizations to develop

mitigation and preparedness activities as well as respond to and

recover from disasters. In Florida, the county leads and

coordinates its municipalities or local EM-related initiatives.

Municipalities within the county still own some level of

autonomy during normal times and this pattern is most obvious

in big cities. A big city serves as a big brother to take care of

other neighboring small municipalities and speaks out for them.

Nevertheless, the county

municipality relationship becomes

relatively directive during a disaster. County-county

collaboration can be conducted through writing a grant project

in normal times or activating a mutual aid system to supply

resources to each other during a disaster. Local EM directors

popularly believe that surrounding counties are akin to siblings,

facing similar risks and problems. Therefore, they should help

each other get through the emergencies.

The interview findings also identified that the private

sector (i.e., utility companies, telecommunication companies,

theme parks, grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and

hardware stores) can provide some substantive physical