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ABSTRACT: Paramedics, as emergency healthcare workers
and ‘frontline’ responders, are expected to be
both willing and able to respond when disaster
strikes. In reality, paramedics may be reluctant to
work when the situation poses a possible threat
to their own safety, their co-workers, or that
of their families. Consequently, can ambulance
services expect to have an adequate supply of
paramedics that will be willing to work during
disasters? Through the use of paramedic focus
groups, this study demonstrates that ambulance
services should not assume that all paramedics
will be willing to report to work during disasters.
This willingness to work is directly influenced
by paramedics’ perceptions of risk, as well as
the type, duration, location, and visibility of the
disaster. The impact of this should be considered
in emergency preparedness and planning.
Australian Journal of Emergency Management 08/2009; 24(3):21-27.