The Difference between High Stakes Performance and High Stakes Jobs

Current research suggests that first responders and protective service personnel are under more distress and suffering from higher rates of potential trauma, PTSD, and secondary trauma than ever before. If we want to continue to be able to rely on them to rescue us when we need them, we should be providing them with the latest research-based training and support available.

Disasters, both man-made and natural, are a worldwide and increasing phenomenon (Federal Emergency Management Act [FEMA], 2011; Johnson, Ronan, Johnston, & Peace, 2014; Saul, 2013), and more of the population will become vulnerable to natural disasters over the next several decades (Johnson et al., 2014). As stated in an executive summary report to Congress by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (2013), “we are facing increasing risks and mounting costs from disasters in the near- and long-term future” (p. iii), and “the worldwide loss of life and economic disruption caused by disasters is an increasing focus of attention” (p. 2). While there are calls for an increase in the focus of attention on disasters which, are driven by the increase in the frequency, intensity of, and human vulnerability to natural disasters (FEMA, 2011; Johnson, and Ronan, 2014; Saul, 2013), there does not seem to be an equal focus on an increase in training and support for first responders.

Current research suggests that first responders and protective service personnel are under more distress and suffering from higher rates of potential trauma, PTSD, and secondary trauma than ever before. If we want to continue to be able to rely on them to rescue us when we need them, we should be providing them with the latest research-based training and support available.

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References

Federal Emergency Management Agency (2011). A whole community approach to emergency management: Principles, themes, and pathways for action. Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1813-25045-0649/whole_community_dec2011__2_.pdf

Johnson, V. A., & Ronan, K. R. (2014). Classroom responses of New Zealand school teachers following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Natural Hazards72(2), 1075-1092.

Johnson, V. A., Ronan, K. R., Johnston, D. M., & Peace, R. (2014). Evaluations of disaster education programs for children: A methodological review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction9, 107-123.

Saul, J. (2013). Collective trauma, collective healing: Promoting community resilience in the aftermath of disaster (Vol. 48). London, UK: Routledge.

Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Guffey, S., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2013). A review of school climate research. Review of Educational Research83(3), 357-385.

Increasing First Responder Suicide Rates Spark Concern. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/pennsylvania/articles/2017-03-25/increasing-first-responder-suicide-rates-spark-concern