The World Trade Center clean-up focused national attention on the inadequate training for skilled support personnel (SSP), OSHA's term for workers in trades (including construction, demolition, and transportation) deployed to support disaster responses. While the relevant OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.120) provides detailed training for emergency responders, the requirements for training skilled support personnel--so-called secondary responders-- are less stringent, focusing only on awareness training through an initial on-site briefing. The negative health consequences of inadequate preparation have been profound, leading to efforts to better prepare SSP to work safely on disaster sites. This Phase II project focuses on biological hazards as the consequences of inadequate protection are potentially catastrophic to the skilled support worker as well as the public at large. Because skilled support personnel are subject to no statutory or regulatory requirement for training in advance of a disaster response, training must not only be informative but also persuasive about the need to know, easily accessible, and sufficiently entertaining and graphically appealing to engage the attention of SSP. The basic training developed and tested in Phase I achieved the goals of engagement. This Phase II project will focus on adding animation and interaction to the Phase I product, developing shorter, incident- specific refresher trainings that can be reviewed on mobile devices prior to entering a disaster response action, and constructing an online Discussion Forum to provide trainees with opportunities for interactions with instructors and peers. Following the completion of tests measuring knowledge gains and retention, subscriptions to this package of products will be marketed to organizations that provide health and safety training to construction workers. As part of the marketing effort, a summary product will be developed to supplement more general disaster response curricula. This product will be disseminated free of charge to non- profit training agencies in order to expand the reach and visibility of the Phase II products.
The World at Risk report issued in 2008 by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Proliferation and Terrorism concluded that while nuclear terrorism has been emphasized in Federal prevention efforts, bioterrorism is the more likely threat. Preparing skilled support workers to respond to this threat is an urgent public health challenge that will be addressed in this project by developing and testing several products to prepare skilled support personnel to work safely in biologically contaminated environments. Products include a comprehensive basic training for use online or in class, refresher training in three incident-specific units that can be viewed on mobile devices prior to entering a response action, and an online Discussion Board that will allow trainees to interact with instructors and peers and receive on-going support.