Skill improvement during emergency response to terrorism training

Joseph A. Scott*, Geoffrey T. Miller, S. Barry Issenberg, Angel A. Brotons, David Lee Gordon, Michael S. Gordon, William C. McGaghie, Emil R. Petrusa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives. To assess the individual and team skills acquired from an interactive training program to prepare emergency personnel to respond to terrorist acts. Methods. We developed a 16-hour, two-day, multimedia- and simulation-enhanced course that places learners in realistic situations using the equipment required to respond to various chemical, biologic, radiologic, and explosive acts of terrorism. Small-group sessions and drills were conducted. Errors in skill performance were corrected immediately, and then skills were repeated to achieve mastery. Participants included emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses, and physicians. Team performance was assessed over four successive scenarios using a 100-mm visual analog scale. Individual learner skill acquisition was assessed with precourse and postcourse evaluation of selected skills in a randomized sampling of consenting learners. Results. Nearly all teams achieved mastery of the required skills by the second assessment rotation. Individual learners demonstrated significant gains in the ability to emergently don personal protective equipment and administer a nerve agent antidote kit. Conclusions. An interactive, simulation-enhanced curriculum of terrorism response training for emergency responders can produce significant, quantifiable individual and team skill gain. Future studies should further address performance benchmarks for these newly acquired skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Clinical skills
  • Disaster
  • EMS
  • Education
  • Simulation
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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