Public experiences of mass casualty decontamination

Carter, Holly, Drury, John, Rubin, G James, Williams, Richard and Amlôt, Richard (2012) Public experiences of mass casualty decontamination. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 10 (3). pp. 280-289. ISSN 1538-7135

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Abstract

In this article, we analyze feedback from simulated casualties who took part in field exercises involving mass decontamination, to gain an understanding of how responder communication can affect people’s experiences of and compliance with decontamination. We analyzed questionnaire data gathered from 402 volunteers using the framework approach, to provide an insight into the public’s experiences of decontamination and how these experiences are shaped by the actions of emergency responders. Factors that affected casualties’ experiences of the econtamination process included the need for greater practical information and better communication from responders, and the need for privacy. Results support previous findings from small-scale incidents that involved decontamination in showing that participants wanted better communication from responders during the process of decontamination, including more practical information, and that the failure of responders to communicate effectively with members of the public led to anxiety about the decontamination process. The similarity between the findings from the exercises described in this article and previous research into real
incidents involving decontamination suggests that field exercises provide a useful way to examine the effect of responder communication strategies on the public’s experiences of decontamination. Future exercises should examine in more detail the effect of various communication strategies on the public’s experiences of decontamination. This will facilitate the development of evidence-based communication strategies intended to reduce anxiety about decontamination and increase compliance among members of the public during real-life incidents that involve mass decontamination.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: John Drury
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2012 10:33
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 02:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41624

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