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First responders will work through catastrophes with support: study

August 24, 2011

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Newark, DE – Fears that first responders would be unwilling to work in the midst of a disaster may be exaggerated, suggests a study released Aug. 18 by the University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center.

Researchers reviewed 180 documents on disaster response and determined that although strain and conflict often are experienced by disaster responders, role abandonment is unlikely if organizations are proactive in protecting their workers. They also found that organizations place little emphasis on easing conflicts between first responders’ commitment to their jobs and to their families. Study author Joe Trainor believes this conflict could be eased if employers provide resources and support to responders’ spouses and family members.

“Fire companies and police stations and hospitals should stop being concerned about whether individuals will report or not and start being concerned about what their organizations can do to help individuals report to duty,” Trainor said in a press release.

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