setting with a focus on one specific EMS unit that will participate in the CDP training program. This setting was selected because it offered a snapshot collection of data that could be valuable based on the outcome of the training provided by the CDP program. The researcher will conduct pre and post-interviews with the members of the EMS unit as they start and complete the program. One of the benefits of this style of approach is that it allows for the gathering of qualitative and quantitative data.
A mixed research study design provides the researcher with hard, numerical data on feelings, thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. The organization benefits from this type of study because the organization can analyze through numerical data how its members actually perceive the training they receive. The data can help discover whether the training is effective or needs to be improved upon.
This thesis focuses on effectiveness of a specific form of training for frist responders that was developed, tested, and implemented after 9/11. Despite the fact that this program had its origins in real field conditions, this does not mean that it does not require continual testing and re-evaluating to determine if the philosophy and pragmatics of the program are the best that they can be.
This form of training has been praised for its ability to enable hospital staff and other first responders to effectively deal with crisis situations. "I feel the course was very helpful in helping to formulate my response to the current [H1N1] situation. Having the P3 course helped to put everything in focus as it happened. I think Pandemic training is very important; I believe that by having this training, it helped us to keep our organization functioning calmly, with focus and with the knowledge that Infection Control and Safety Services had the situation under control" said one graduate of the program (News, 2012, CDP website). The program is designed so that skills can be learned a single time and then applied in a number of different circumstances. It will be assessed in both objective and subjective terms.
The ability to cope with emergencies through preparation and genuinely effective drills was enabled by CDP training, according to many graduates. The CDP model of training, while it is tailored to the needs of the specific personnel under consideration is not only grounded in a healthcare model, but also in the needs of other emergency responders. This can be seen as a strength of the program, given that coordination with government officials, police and fire-fighters are essential during a disaster (Waugh 2003: 393). Training through an agency that embraces the perspective of many emergency-related services requires EMS staff to better learn how to cooperate with other agencies involved in dealing with security threats, and studying the CDP model could help unite the worldview of different response agencies.
Part of what this thesis examines is the extent to which this form of training has the ability to serve as a form of translation service between and among different agencies and the ways in which they work.
Research Problem and Research Questions
The research problem is focused on the efficacy of a certain type of EMT training and the ways in which first responders will be able to react under a range of circumstances. Given that different EMTs have received different types of training, this population provides an excellent opportunity to examine the effectiveness of training as well as -- and this is just as important -- the ways in which first responders themselves understand the effectiveness of how they are being trained and how it affects their sense of community. Only half of all EMS providers have received training in dealing with WMD weapons of mass destruction) response procedures.
And only 18.1 in a recent survey said that their agencies possessed the required equipment to adequately respond to a WMD emergency. EMS providers that received WMD training reported a higher comfort level dealing with emergencies than those who had received no training at all (Reilly, Markenson & DiMaggio 2007: 298-300). This seems contradictory at first, and so requires further study.
This thesis will attempt to determine why this should be the case. The ways in which first responders are trained are of utmost importance, of course, but too often studies of them focus only on objective criteria such as injury rates. While such objective standards are necessarily useful, they cannot be the only criteria to be used when making such assessments. Interviewing those involved in such trainings and who must transfer these trainings into daily work must also be interviewed to get the fullest possible picture of what types of training are the most effective.
The best way to provide such training can be controversial. How to provide it, what type of training is most effective, and what type of training is most cost-effective are all concerns that must be answered and are issues that will be taken up in the course of this research. In response to the need for additional training, in June 1998, the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) created a training center for EMS responders.
"The CDP's mission is to operate a federal training center for delivery of high-quality, comprehensive preparedness training programs for the nation's emergency responders," including EMS personnel (About the CDP, 2012, CDP website). "Responders from across the country train at the Center for Domestic Preparedness and return to their hometowns with specialized skills and experience" (Why train with the CDP, 2012, CDP website). Part of the focus of this research is the extent to which the term "comprehensive" is shared across agencies.
This study will conduct a case study of a facility that has made use of the CDP training program. The participants will be surveyed to see if their level of perceived comfort in dealing with a WMD response has increased, as a result of the program. The construction of the program and its perceived deficits and strengths will also be assessed. The suggestions that participants themselves have to offer will be incorporated and assessed in turn.
Research Study Design
The population for this study will include the entire EMS unit, even those members of the unit who do not participate in the CDP training. This will help ensure that the opinions of as many different members of the community are included. The different experiences of the group's members can be assessed along the divide of whether or not they participated in the training as a method of gaining further insight into its effectiveness.
The members of this unit are a diverse population; there are not as many women as there are men, the age range is approximately 26 on the young side, and 48 on the old side. The unit's members are (for the most part) highly educated and motivated individuals who are compassionate and passionate about their work and the people they are entrusted with to help. Many of the group are married, and approximately 25% are of minority heritage.
The entire group is differentiated from other careers because they are constantly and consistently faced with life-saving opportunities. Additionally, their quick actions and thinking can oftentimes avert disaster on a very personal level. This group was chosen because of their advanced training, and constant education they receive both through on-the-job experience, and in the professional training courses that they are required to attend.
Because this particular group learns through experience and practice-based standards are often developed through this experience it seems likely that this group will provide a wealth of data on how to improve or enhance the CPD training that is being evaluated. One recent study determined that "Self-evaluation can help schools to detect problems and monitor improvement initiatives" (Schildkamp, Visscher, Luyten, 2009, p. 69).
The same study found that "school self-evaluation instruments may provide schools with information on process variables associated with school effectiveness, which schools can use to improve their performance" (p.69). If this study is successful then perhaps the tools used herein will provide long-tern benefits to both the school(s) that use the tools, and the students that are taught by those school(s).
The study's participants were chosen because they were willing to attend the training and willing to have an observer/interviewer throughout the entire process. Additionally, the group is representative of a large contingent of like-minded individuals and groups throughout the nation. The sample size -- as compared to the overall EMS population -- is rather small, and that could limit the validity of the study. The study is not meant to show that the CPD training will be effective in every case, and throughout the entire land, but is meant to determine the level of effectiveness as portrayed by one EMS group.
The study is meant to add to the level of significant literature, it is not meant to be the comprehensive leader of the available literature. The recruitment methods used to choose this group were relatively simple; the researcher approached a…