Background: Previously, researchers have identified barriers and facilitators to using 911 in Black and Hispanic communities. However, there are many other groups that have access to 911 service, who have not yet been represented in the literature. Prior to this study, a Community Engagement Studio (a focus group forum) was held to solicit input from representatives of various diverse communities in Salt Lake Valley on their attitudes, experiences, and perceptions of their local 911 services.
Objectives: The objective was to identify attitudes, barriers, and experiences in utilizing 911 service among certain diverse communities in Salt Lake County, Utah, USA that may be underserved by 911 communication centers.
Methods: The researchers held focus groups at five study sites in Salt Lake County. A total of 65 participants were recruited into the study by community advisory board representatives. Focus group discussions covered topics related to challenges with using 911 and other aspects of participant experiences. The analysts shared detailed descriptions of themes with community members for feedback.
Results: The study identified seven significant barriers to calling 911: anxiety/fear, mistrust, privacy, ambiguity, financial, structural, and language. The major themes that emerged, which described experiences and attitudes, were making difficult decisions, disconnect from 911, and using 911 is risky.
Conclusion: The results demonstrated significant implications for the development of targeted 911 education that better addresses the ambiguities and risks perceived in emergency situations, as well as the provision of cultural training for emergency dispatch professionals and the diverse communities.
Keywords: 911 Education, Attitudes, Barriers, Expectations, Diverse Communities, Emergency Dispatch
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