Supporting disaster victims and first responders
JIBC awarded $3.6 million research project to explore management of psychological and social support during disaster
As the risk of Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) events and other hazards becomes more evident, so does the need to develop practical tools and guidelines for first responders and those who provide psychological and social support to them and disaster victims.
Through a $3.6 million project funded by the CBRNE Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI) – a federal program led by Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) – JIBC, working with Health Canada’s Emergency Preparedness and Occupational Health Directorate (EPOHD), will develop a web-based “Simulation and Training Exercise Collaboratory” (SIMTEC). The Collaboratory – an environment where participants make use of computing and communication technologies to access shared instruments and data, as well as to communicate with others – will enhance psychosocial capacity and capability management relating to CBRNE incidents and other hazards.
"The Government of Canada is pleased to be providing our support for this important project", said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "Health Canada will be able to share its expertise and to champion this effort to better understand the psycho-social impacts on those involved during an emergency, through the use of innovative technology."
“They may put on a brave face, but often emergency response personnel are impacted by disaster themselves,” says Colleen Vaughan, Director, JIBC Emergency Management Division. “They focus their efforts on assisting others, while ignoring their own psychological and social needs.”
Deliverables over the four-year project include:
- A suite of exercises (including scenarios and multi-media injects);
- Psychosocial protocols, guidelines and training for family physicians/health care workers, victim support workers, psychosocial interveners, first responders, and senior decision makers/emergency operations centre (EOC) personnel.
“SIMTEC will provide a virtual laboratory of information, research and expert dialogue focused on training and exercise for emergency responders and leadership, with a specific emphasis on the psychosocial implications of disasters for responders and civilians,” says JIBC’s newly-appointed Research Chair, Dr. Laurie Pearce. An Associate Faculty member at Royal Roads University, Dr. Pearce is one of the project’s Key Co-Principal Investigators, along with Vaughan and Dr. Robin Cox, an Associate Professor and Program Head in the Disaster and Emergency Management Master of Arts program at Royal Roads University.
The proposed exercises will be centred on the research data and experiences of responders from BC and various federal partners, but will be applicable to any jurisdiction with emergency management protocols that include an EOC. In addition to the exercises, the protocols and guidelines developed during the project will be of interest and applicable to any country.
“The commitment and leadership demonstrated by the Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science in funding this initiative will help to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of EOC staff and others in responding to CBNRE incidents,” says Dr. Pearce. “It could make a meaningful difference to the outcome of future incidents, for victims and those charged with securing their safety.”
JIBC is Canada’s leading public safety educator - a dynamic post-secondary institution recognized nationally and internationally for innovative education in the areas of justice and public safety. JIBC offers a range of applied and academic programs (certificates, diplomas, and degrees) that span the spectrum of safety – from prevention to response and recovery. JIBC’s Office of Applied Research builds the Institute’s research and scholarship capacity. Findings and evidence from JIBC research projects are translated into state-of-the-art curricula and public safety and security interventions, and inform evidence-based policy and programs.
About DRDC CSS
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) is a joint endeavour between the Department of National Defence and Public Safety Canada that contributes to strengthening Canada's ability to anticipate, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, crime, natural disasters and serious accidents. This is achieved through collaboration with more than 19 federal departments and agencies, industry and academia, as well as investments in science and technology research and developments, and testing and evaluation of concepts and technologies. DRDC CSS also provides evidence-based advice by applying scientific methodologies and expertise to support policy development, as well as emergency and security planning and operations.
Last updated April 4, 2017