The willingness of U.S. Emergency Medical Technicians to respond to terrorist incidents

Biosecur Bioterror. 2005;3(4):331-7. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2005.3.331.


A nationally representative sample of basic and paramedic emergency medical service providers in the United States was surveyed to assess their willingness to respond to terrorist incidents. EMT's were appreciably (9-13%) less willing than able to respond to such potential terrorist-related incidents as smallpox outbreaks, chemical attacks, or radioactive dirty bombs (p<0.0001). EMTs who had received terrorism-related continuing medical education within the previous 2 years were twice as likely (OR=1.9, 95% CI 1.9, 2.0) to be willing to respond to a potential smallpox dissemination incident as those who indicated that they had not received such training. Timely and appropriate training, attention to interpersonal concerns, and instilling a sense of duty may increase first medical provider response rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terrorism / psychology*
  • United States