Disaster Preparedness of Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Services Professionals
ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:403–412 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Abstract Objectives:
During disasters, the public expects that emergency care will be available at a moment’s notice. As such, an emergency medical services (EMS) workforce that is trained and prepared for disasters is imperative. The primary objectives of this study were to quantify the amount of individual-level training EMS professionals receive in terrorism and disaster-preparedness, as well as to assess EMS professionals’ participation in multiagency disaster drills across the United States. Characteristics of those most likely to have received individual-level training or participated in multiagency disaster drills were explored. The secondary objectives were to assess EMS professional’s perception of preparedness and to determine whether the amount of training individuals received was correlated with their perceptions of preparedness. Methods:
A structured survey was administered to nationally certified EMT-Basics and paramedics as part of their 2008 recertification paperwork. Outcome variables included individual-level preparedness training, participation in multiagency disaster drills, and perception of preparedness. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression modeling were used to quantify the amount of training received. Spearman rank correlation coefficients were used to analyze whether training was correlated with an individual’s perception of preparedness. Results:
There were 46,127 EMS professionals who had the opportunity to complete the recertification questionnaire; 30,570 (66.3%) responded. A complete case analysis was performed on 21,438 respondents. Overall, 19,551 respondents (91.2%) reported receiving at least 1 hour of individual-level preparedness training, and 12,828 respondents (59.8%) reported participating in multiagency disaster drills, in the prior 24 months. Spearman rank correlation coefficients revealed that hours of individual-level preparedness training were significantly correlated with the perception of preparedness. Conclusions:
While areas where EMS should focus attention for improvement were identified, a majority of nationally certified EMT-Basics and paramedics reported participating in both individual and multiagency disaster-preparedness training. A large majority of respondents reported feeling adequately prepared to respond to man-made and natural disasters and the perception of preparedness correlated with hours of training.
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