Utilizing Technology Based Learning for Disaster Preparedness

Utilizing Technology Based Learning for Disaster Preparedness

Michele Burkhammer (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA), Benjamin Lawner (University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA) and Zane Berge (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2012010103
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Preparing for disasters can be a grueling, although necessary, exercise for those involved in emergency response. The large scale nature of disaster response poses many obstacles to executing an effective disaster preparedness drill that incorporates hospitals, fire and rescue personnel, and police. Cooperation and effective communication during these incidents is imperative. Simulation technology is a realistic alternative to a large, multi-disciplinary, one- time effort. Each discipline may be able to practice and reinforce their roles in a disaster with the aid of various emerging technologies. This paper examines some of the technologies already being implemented in the area of disaster preparedness. Technology based learning (TBL) strategies are analyzed for consistency with accepted principles of adult education.
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Traditionally, public safety agencies that charged with emergency response have prepared for multiple casualty incidents (MCIs) and disaster through structured participation in disaster drills. Disaster drills pose several challenges for emergency medical responders. These mock exercises require an inordinate amount of pre-planning, seamless interagency communication, and the investment of additional time and resources. The identification of efficient, cost effective, and realistic training methods would theoretically enhance communication between hospitals, fire rescue departments, and other organizations charged with protecting public health. There is a paucity of data about what strategies constitute the most effective training for mass casualty occurrences. Recent developments in high fidelity simulation, virtual reality, and internet based training strategies have revolutionized public safety's approach to disaster preparedness and response. This paper will examine currently available literature and describe how a technology based learning (TBL) strategy may complement readiness efforts.

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