New Research Sheds Light on First Responders’ Needs

According to research from the University at Buffalo School of Management, emergency workers make better decisions when responding to terrorist attacks if they have the proper training, information access and a positive work environment.

The idea for the study, published in the IIMB Management Review, came after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, on Nov. 26, 2008. The attacks killed 166 people and are often called India’s 9/11, according to a University at Buffalo article on the study.

H. Raghav Rao, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Management Science and Systems Department in the UB School of Management, co-authored the research. The focus of the research was to understand the motivation and decision-making process of first responders during the attacks.

“An officer in the police department, whether in the control room or in the field, makes many critical decisions during a situation like the Mumbai terrorist attacks,” Rao said. “Each of these decisions is driven by a motivation, which is usually derived from knowledge of the situation at hand.”

After analyzing the information gathered from surveys of 31 Mumbai police officers who were involved in the immediate response to the attacks and interviews with 15 other middle- to high-ranking officers, the researchers have come up with the following recommendations to help first responders prepare for terrorist attacks:

  • Remove barriers to information sharing. When responders have timely access to important information in a crisis, they have increased motivation to take action.
  • Improve training. Improved training in how to deal with, assess the severity of and quickly respond to crisis situations will lead emergency workers to more helpful actions and decisions.
  • Establish an optimistic work environment. Hopefulness improves the likelihood that responders will take positive steps to alleviate crisis situations.
  • Create a decision support system. Officers should be trained to pick up important information, make decisions from that information and be provided with the tools they need to communicate those decisions to the necessary personnel.

(The above bulleted list of recommendations comes from the University at Buffalo article on the research, link below.)


For more information, see the original article here: