Assessing and improving bioterrorism preparedness among first responders: A pilot study

Atiera Abatemarco, Marija Borjan, Mark Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the vulnerability of the United States became apparent. It also became evident that there was a need for respiratory protection. The purpose of this study was to determine the prior knowledge and perceptions of emergency medical technicians with respect to bioterrorism and to enhance their current knowledge to better prepare them for possible future events. The study was also designed to create a certified pool of trainers who would be capable of fit-testing all squad members with N-100 respirators. Representatives were recruited from each of the Hunterdon County, New Jersey, rescue squads. Participants attended a train-the-trainer session. Before the session and after, they were tested on knowledge and perceptions about relevant bioterrorism issues and were given an educational presentation on bioterrorism, threatening agents, respiratory health, and proper protection, along with being introduced to the fit-test steps for N-100 respirator masks. The response rate for the training was 94 percent. The authors measured and compared responses on the pre-test and the post-test with respect to knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions, and the results indicated a change following the training. The study thus provided evidence that the train-the-trainer program is an effective method of providing public health preparedness training to members of community organizations and agencies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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