Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

Chad S. Foster

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Second Advisor

Matthew L. Howell

Department Affiliation

Government and Economics

Third Advisor

Bill Sullivan

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management


Disasters begin and end locally, but anecdotal evidence suggests that national disaster policies significantly influence state and local approaches. The federal government influences local and state emergency management through national emergency management doctrine as well as providing considerable grant programs to local and state governments who adopt the federal policies. The study attempts to explore some effects of this policy dichotomy.

A survey along with selective interviews were conducted of local and state emergency management officials in North Carolina to examine the impacts of select federal preparedness grants. From 70 surveys and 6 interviews, the following findings were identified. There is limited secondary data on the grant programs, but overwhelmingly respondents felt the grants were critical. There is evidence to suggest that state and local response agencies have become reliant on federal grant programs to support operations, especially the state agencies. The grant programs may also contribute to the creation of programmatic "silos" that are not well integrated at all levels of government, and provide little support for the accepted principles of progressive and flexibility. Several key concerns were raised that require additional study to improve the federal preparedness grant programs and by doing so improve the national emergency management system.