Utilizing Community Emergency Response Teams

Community Emergency Response Teams
Community Emergency Response Teams

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Research topic: Obstacles and Barriers Utilizing Community Emergency Response Teams for emergency incidents in the northeast region of the United States.

Emergency Management is an imperative aspect in reducing the impact of disasters and which should be given significant priority (Sylves, 2014). Unfortunately, utilization of community emergency response teams presents considerable barriers and obstacles.

The significance of this research to psychology lies in the need to identify how emergency incidents are handled at the community level and the prevailing obstacles and challenges that affect this approach. These may be explained through psychology theories that affect behavior and possible challenges in community emergency management (Ejeta, Ardalan & Paton, 2015). Community emergency response involves the use of community members to respond to incidences within the community (Medina, 2016). The target population constitutes of community members and emergency department officials from the northeast region of the United States.

References

Ejeta, L.T., Ardalan, A. & Paton, D. (2015). Application of Behavioral Theories to Disaster and Emergency Health Preparedness: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494855/

Medina, A. (2016). Promoting a culture of disaster preparedness. Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, 9(3), 281-290. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a6330788-437d-4f4a-9f00-8c2f795dcb63%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4105

Sylves, R. (2014). Disaster Policy and Politics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security: Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

  1. Research Topic

Research on emergency management indicates that engagement of communities in emergency management can have significant benefits due to their valuable input before the arrival of first responders (Miehl, 2012; Orkin et al, 2012). We know that other parts of the United States have utilized Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

However we do not know whether this has been successfully implemented whether these teams have been an asset or obstacle in emergency management before arrival of first responders. Obstacles and challenges involved in community emergency management have not been exclusively studied.

References

Miehl, G. F. (2011). Community Emergency Response. Professional Safety, 56(12), 35-41. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b654225c-2694-4a93-beab-fe9e76ea952d%40sessionmgr4001&vid=1&hid=4105

Orkin, A., VanderBurgh, D., Born, K., Webster, M., Strickland, S., & Beardy, J. (2012). Where There Is No Paramedic: The Sachigo Lake Wilderness Emergency Response Education Initiative. Plos Medicine, 9(10), 1-5. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001322

2.1. Research Problem Background

Plough et al (2013) and Wells et al (2013) describe CERTs as a connection between citizens and homeland security. Chandra, et al (2013) and Orkin (et al, 2012) establish that community engagement is important in promoting disaster preparedness and management.

CERTs however face challenges that must be addressed to ensure they deliver (Mayunga, 2013). These include inadequate skills, equipment, poor organization and collaboration and lack of knowledge required in the management of disasters (Kapucu, 2008).

In addressing challenges of CERT management, Medina (2016) describes the need for improved infrastructure, communication, networking and increased awareness on disaster management. Connolly (2012); Citizen Corps (2016) and E P A. (2016) emphasize the importance of knowledge and education on emergency response for CERTs. Miehl (2012) notes the importance of proper area awareness in successful use of CERTs. 

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References

Chandra, A., Williams, M., Plough, A., Stayton, A., Wells, K. B., Horta, M., & Tang, J. (2013). Getting Actionable About Community Resilience: The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project. American Journal of Public Health, 103(7), 1181-1189. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301270

Citizen Corps website. (2016). Benefits of continued training. Retrieved from http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/start-2-3a.shtm

Connolly, M. (2012). Creating a Campus Based Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Community College Journal of Research & Practice, 36(6), 448-452.

E P A. (2016). Emergency planning and community right to know act. Washington, DC.

Kapucu, N. (2008). Collaborative emergency management: better community organising, better public preparedness and response. Disasters, 32(2), 239-262. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7717.2008.01037.x Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=16&sid=7e8d6c65-1efc-4387-9209-ada9122748df%40sessionmgr4004&hid=4105

Mayunga J. S. (2013). Understanding and applying the concept of community disaster resilience: a capital-based approach. Working paper for the Summer Academy for Social Vulnerability and Resilience Building. Retrieved from http://www.ehs.unu.edu/file/get/3761.

Medina, A. (2016). Promoting a culture of disaster preparedness. Journal Of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, 9(3), 281-290.. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a6330788-437d-4f4a-9f00-8c2f795dcb63%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4105

Miehl, G. F. (2011). Community Emergency Response. Professional Safety, 56(12), 35-41. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b654225c-2694-4a93-beab-fe9e76ea952d%40sessionmgr4001&vid=1&hid=4105

Orkin, A., VanderBurgh, D., Born, K., Webster, M., Strickland, S., & Beardy, J. (2012). Where There Is No Paramedic: The Sachigo Lake Wilderness Emergency Response Education Initiative. Plos Medicine, 9(10), 1-5. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001322

Plough, A., Fielding, J. E., Chandra, A., Williams, M., Eisenman, D., Wells, K. B., & … Magaña, A. (2013). Building Community Disaster Resilience: Perspectives from a Large Urban County Department of Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 103(7), 1190-1197. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=62250a9a-93d3-4285-af03-c902e525baa7%40sessionmgr4004&vid=1&hid=4105

Wells, K. B., Tang, J., Lizaola, E., Jones, F., Brown, A., Stayton, A., & … Plough, A. (2013). Applying Community Engagement to Disaster Planning: Developing the Vision and Design for the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Initiative. American Journal of Public Health, 103(7), 1172-1180. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301407.

3.1. Advancing scientific knowledge

Community Emergency Response Teams have been used in other parts of the United States as a reinforcement to county emergency response teams. Their participation in emergency management is however influenced by various obstacles and challenges. While a considerable number of studies have studied the importance of CERTs in emergency management, the challenges and obstacles faced in their utilization has not been exploited.

Wells, et al (2013) establish that the use of CERT promotes emergency management by ensuring that immediate emergencies can be managed before first responders arrive. Challenges and obstacles ranging from lack of proper knowledge, equipment and lack of adequate commitment and availability of the teams, given that they are not employed to ensure that they concentrate on this role only (Miehl, 2011; Mayunga, 2013). Through this research, factors affecting CERTs are studied to determine how these can be managed to enhance the effectiveness of CERTs.

References

Mayunga J. S. (2013). Understanding and applying the concept of community disaster resilience: a capital-based approach. Working paper for the Summer Academy for Social Vulnerability and Resilience Building. Retrieved from http://www.ehs.unu.edu/file/get/3761.

Miehl, G. F. (2011). Community Emergency Response. Professional Safety, 56(12), 35-41. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b654225c-2694-4a93-beab-fe9e76ea952d%40sessionmgr4001&vid=1&hid=4105

Wells, K. B., Tang, J., Lizaola, E., Jones, F., Brown, A., Stayton, A., & … Plough, A. (2013). Applying Community Engagement to Disaster Planning: Developing the Vision and Design for the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Initiative. American Journal of Public Health, 103(7), 1172-1180. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301407.

3.2. Theoretical Implications

This research will create a better understanding of the fundamentals of emergency management including the need for immediate response, importance of emergency management tools, communication and relevance of community involvement in emergency response. The research will demonstrate challenges that exist in emergency management, particularly where CERTs are involved and thereby significantly inform theory.

3.3. Practical implications

The usefulness of CERTs in emergency management cannot be underestimated because their vicinity to the emergency location ensures they can take action before first responders arrive (Medina, 2016). This research will be of great relevance to emergency management authorities including emergency managers, emergency planners, FEMA representatives and the stakeholders in the northeast region of the United States by providing valuable insights on the obstacles and challenges associated with CERTs. This will ensure that they are fully aware on whether CERTs should be utilized in enhancing emergency management and how obstacles and challenges can be overcome to ensure CERTs are effective. 

References

Medina, A. (2016). Promoting a culture of disaster preparedness. Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, 9(3), 281-290. Retrieved from eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a6330788-437d-4f4a-9f00-8c2f795dcb63%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4105

4.3. Ethical considerations

This research involves human beings as research subjects and will therefore ensure that high ethical standards are maintained (Glaser and Strauss, 2009). This will include promoting privacy of respondents throughout the research period, requiring voluntary participation in the research and avoiding bias in data collection and analysis (Berg, 2009). The researcher intends to discuss the study with the institutional review board to ascertain whether they can proceed with the research and that these ethical considerations will be actioned.

References

Berg, B. L. (2009). Qualitative Research Methods. Boston, MA, United States: Allyn & Bacon.

Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. L. (2009). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Piscataway, NJ, United States: Aldine Transaction.

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