Methamphetamine (meth), the fastest-growing illicit drug in the United States, is manufactured in makeshift laboratories using highly flammable and toxic ingredients. Most meth labs are discovered when fires, explosions, or medical emergencies are reported to authorities. A large and growing problem is that responders to the scene often lack prior knowledge that they are responding to a meth lab incident. Thus, they are not sufficiently prepared, either to respond to the incident or to protect themselves from harm. The objective of this project is to improve their level of preparedness and thus reduce the number of injuries and deaths associated with meth lab response. For first responders such as emergency medical technicians, HAZMAT workers, law enforcement, firefighters, or others who may encounter clandestine meth labs, SimQuest proposes to develop a training program that will hone their risk assessment and response capabilities. The program will differ from existing training in that it will include interactive case scenarios that require sers to apply critical thinking and decision making skills in various meth lab environments and conditions, and will include performance assessment to verify and refine learning outcomes.
The specific aims are to (1) conduct a detailed gap analysis in existing clandestine meth lab awareness training;(2) establish training goals, performance metrics, and technological requirements;(3) define instructional strategies and learning objectives;(4) develop an integrated content development plan;(5) map functional requirements to delivery platform options;(6) develop a pilot case scenario;and (7) develop a formative evaluation plan. Because this program has the very real potential to reduce injuries and save lives among emergency response, HAZMAT, and skilled support personnel, it directly complements the goals of NIEHS in general, and the WETP in specific. It specifically addresses product area C. Products to support e-learning in safety and health training.
Project Narrative The proposed program applies the emerging technology of case-scenario-based training, using advanced distributed learning and mobile platforms, to improve the preparedness of responders who encounter illicit methamphetamine (meth) labs. The training will consist of interactive meth lab case scenarios in which users make decisions, recognize dangers, respond to various situations, and receive performance assessments that enable them to improve their decision making and response capabilities. Improved preparedness will help stem the rising tide of responder injuries and deaths associated with meth lab incidents.