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Knowledge and Training Regarding the Link Between Trauma and Health- A National Survey of Emergency Dispatchers

Feb 13, 2024|AEDR 2024 Vol. 12 Issue 1|Original Research
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Introduction: Emergency dispatch personnel play a crucial role in emergency response systems by serving as the initial point of contact during crises. The high-stress environment they operate in, coupled with the demanding nature of their responsibilities, raises concerns about their psychological well-being.

Objective: There is a lack of information about how emergency dispatch professionals experience this role and access or utilize educational and training experiences. The objective of this research was to form a foundation upon which ideas for stress reduction and health intervention strategies may be developed for emergency dispatchers.

Methods: The present study replicated previous survey procedures used by Andersen, Papazoglou, Koskelainen, and Nyman (2015) to explore the knowledge and training of emergency dispatchers regarding the link between trauma exposure and mental and physical health. An online survey was constructed, and data was collected in the spring of 2022.

Results: The study revealed that most participants (97%) expected exposure to critical incidents as emergency dispatchers and unanimously acknowledged the correlation between such incidents and mental health conditions. Although 53% received formal training about this link, nearly 40% lacked prior exposure. The majority reported high emotional demands (91.8%) and stress (95.8%) in their roles, and after a psychoeducational passage, participants estimated a 69% risk of mental health conditions and a 64% risk of physical health conditions related to their work, underscoring the perceived association between emergency dispatcher roles and health risks.

Conclusion: This study provides significant insights into emergency dispatchers' perceptions and experiences, underscoring the necessity for targeted support initiatives addressing the interplay between critical incident exposure, mental health, and physical well-being. Emphasizing comprehensive education and strategies to manage the demands of their role is crucial, as prioritizing the health of emergency dispatchers is vital for their well-being and the efficient operation of emergency response systems.



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