Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Sharon Medcalf, PhD

Second Committee Member

Keith Hansen, MBA

Third Committee Member

Leslie Scofield, MPH


In disaster response, it is essential for first responders to focus on their disaster role. Lack of personal preparedness at home could hinder a responder’s ability to focus their attention on their response role (13). Personal conflict, such as that caused between family duties and response duties, in a disaster can be mitigated through several means. One mitigation tactic is preparedness education and support offered by the responder’s organization. While the importance of responder personal preparedness cannot be understated, there is a lack of baseline data on the topic related to Nebraska responders.

To assess the state of first responder personal preparedness in Douglas County, Nebraska, a 25-item survey was electronically distributed to the seven volunteer fire departments in the county. The survey was based on the Public Readiness Index and was modified to accommodate an online distribution format. The survey link was open for one month from January 20, 2022, to February 20, 2022. During that time, 32 volunteer fire and emergency medical personnel responded to the survey.

The survey results indicated that volunteer responders in Douglas County are moderately prepared. All measures of the sample center for the Public Readiness Index base questions were five points out of a possible ten. Survey results conclude that respondents participate in disaster planning activities the least but more regularly participate in activities related to response experience.

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