Perceptions of Psychosocial Training on Behavioural Responses in Emergency Operations Centres

March 2017 (VOL. 35, NO. 1)

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When a disaster strikes, the well-being of Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) personnel is often not the first priority for emergency managers working to help provide support to their local community and the incident command site. Through the development and testing of an iterative series of simulation exercises with EOC personnel, this study identified adverse psychosocial outcomes that may emerge within an EOC during an emergency. Having identified a number of practices which led to less than desired psychosocial outcomes, researchers developed a training and awareness video to identify the practices and demonstrate strategies to overcome negative impacts. A comparative analysis was undertaken to compare EOC actions pre- and post-exposure to the video. The results indicated a change in behaviour following the viewing of the video and supported training initiatives that stress the importance of strong leadership in an EOC, encouraging staff to take breaks, respecting diversity, and providing psychosocial support.