A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management for the United States Virgin Islands

Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Laima Warnecke


Public-private partnerships in emergency management are widely encouraged in the academic literature, yet the government of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) tends to view collaboration from the private sector as an impediment to good policy. This occurs in spite of the island nation's geography that makes it susceptible to natural and human caused disasters. The purpose of this correlational study was to use public choice theory to explore, from the perspective of potential private sector collaborators, whether sufficient support exists in the private sector to support the USVI government in emergency management efforts. A modified version of the Mulhearn Sustainability and Community Collaboration Survey was distributed to business owners (n = 156). These data were used to determine whether a statistically significant relationship between USVI preparedness and collaborative governance exists. The results of the linear regression were significant, (p < .001) and suggest private sector company owners believe that collaborative governance can increase USVI preparedness. The recommendation is that the USVI government and the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency involve the private sector in the planning, operations, and logistics of emergency management to prepare for any emergency such as natural disaster or terrorist action. The positive social change implication is based on the recommendation to the USVI government that the private sector be more involved in the planning, operations, and logistics of emergency management, thereby potentially improving emergency response in the event of a catastrophic event.

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