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The Willingness of U.S. Emergency Medical Technicians to Respond to Terrorist Incidents

Markenson, David; DiMaggio, Charles J.; Redlener, Irwin E.

A nationally representative sample of basic and paramedic emergency medical service providers in the United States was surveyed to assess their willingness to respond to terrorist incidents. EMTs were appreciably (9-13%) less willing than able to respond to such potential terrorist-related incidents as smallpox outbreaks, chemical attacks, or radioactive dirty bombs (p < 0.0001). EMTs who had received terrorism-related continuing medical education within the previous 2 years were twice as likely (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.9, 2.0) to be willing to respond to a potential smallpox dissemination incident as those who indicated that they had not received such training. Timely and appropriate training, attention to interpersonal concerns, and instilling a sense of duty may increase first medical provider response rates.

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Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense strategy, practice, and science

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National Center for Disaster Preparedness
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January 4, 2013