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The scientific literature on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is extensive, but little is written about the role of emergency medical services (EMS). The objective of this study is to describe the role of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national emergency prehospital medical organization, in the pre-exposure period, before widespread governmental action. These efforts were based on (1) phone diagnosis, dispatch, and transport; and (2) border management checkpoints.
This is a descriptive study of MDA’s role in pandemic response during the pre-exposure period. Medical emergency telephone calls from either individuals or medical sources were identified by a dispatcher as “suspected COVID-19” based on symptoms and travel exposure. Data were also collected for travelers approaching the MDA border checkpoint at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
The total number of protected transports during this time was 121. Of these, 44 (36.3%) were referred by medical sources, and 77 (63.7%) were identified as “suspected COVID-19” by dispatchers. The checkpoint was accessed by 156 travelers: 87 were sent to home-quarantine; 12 were transported to the hospital; 18 were refused entry; and 39 required no further action.
EMS can work effectively in the pre-exposure period through instructing home quarantine, providing protected transport, and staffing border control checkpoints.
Despite efforts by civil defense authorities, levels of households’ preparedness to emergencies remain insufficient in many countries. Engaging the public in preparedness behavior is a challenge worldwide. The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy of psychological intervention in promoting preparedness behavior to armed conflicts in Israel.
A randomized controlled trial (N = 381) with two control groups and three intervention groups was used. The psychological interventions studied were elevated threat perception, external reward, and manipulation of a cognitive cluster related to preparedness.
The results of the analysis suggest a significant effect of intervention on the increase of reported preparedness (F4,375 = 4.511, P = 0.001). The effect is attributed to the intervention group in which external reward was offered. Participants in this group were about two times more likely to report greater levels of preparedness compared to the control group (RR = 1.855; 95% CI: 1.065, 3.233).
The findings suggest that preparedness behavior can be promoted through external incentives. These are presumably effective motivators because they encourage preparedness while allowing subjects to retain their denial as an adaptive coping mechanism. Innovative thinking is required to overcome the psychological barriers associated with public reluctance to engage in preparedness. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;13:713–723)
One of the most prominent threats to the Israeli population is the risk from armed conflicts. Yet, promoting preparedness behavior proves to be highly difficult. Arguably, this is partially due to the chronic exposure of the Israeli public to this threat, a.k.a. “Victimization.” The purpose of this study was to examine whether victimization plays a prominent role in shaping preparedness behavior toward armed conflicts in Israel.
An online survey of 502 participants representing the adult Jewish population in Israel was carried out. A set of questionnaires designed to assess public perception of preparedness-affecting factors was used. The list of preparedness-affecting factors was conceptualized by an expert panel before the survey.
The results suggest that low prioritization and ignoring of civil-defense instructions during routine times are leading causes for non-compliance with preparedness recommendations. Ignoring instructions is also negatively correlated with reported preparedness. Misunderstanding the threat and fearing it also seem to be important factors.
The results of this study support the hypothesis that victimization plays an important role in shaping preparedness behavior toward armed conflicts among Jews in Israel. The findings demonstrate the complexity of the socio-psychological perspective of preparedness behavior in victimized populations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:67–75)
Preparedness for emergencies and disasters is imperative for public resilience. Previous studies have revealed low levels of civilian preparedness for conflicts. Classic behavioral models prove inapt in describing preparedness patterns in victimized populations chronically exposed to this threat. In an effort to expand this perspective, we hypothesized that other psychological constructs are correlated with preparedness.
A cross-sectional, Internet-based study was performed in Israel in early 2016. A sociodemographically diverse sample included 385 participants, Jews and Arabs. The tools included a preparedness index, sense of preparedness questionnaire, Trait Anxiety Inventory, Life Orientation Test, Behavioral Inhibition & Activation System scales, and ego defenses.
The results suggested that optimistic and rational individuals reported significantly higher levels of preparedness, whereas those who scored highly on the trait anxiety scale and those with a tendency to use denial coping mechanisms reported significantly lower levels of preparedness.
The findings suggest that additional constructs, other than classic threat perception components, might play a key role in governing preparedness behavior. In particular, psychological manipulation of dispositional optimism or optimistic thinking might be effective in motivating preparedness behavior. Future research should explore such innovative ways to promoting preparedness. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:451–459)
In recent decades, many efforts have been made, both globally and locally, to enhance household preparedness for emergencies. In the State of Israel in particular, substantial investment has been made throughout the years in preparing the population for one of the major threats to the civilian population—a rapidly deteriorating regional conflict that involves high-trajectory weapons (ie, rocket and missile fire) launched at the home front. The purpose of this study was to examine the current preparedness level of the Israeli public for this threat and determine the correlates of such preparedness with known factors.
A telephone-based, random sampling of 503 households representative of the Israeli population was carried out during October 2013. The questionnaire examined the level of household preparedness as well as attitudes towards threat perception, responsibility, willingness to search for information, and sense of preparedness. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the level of preparedness in the general population and to find correlates to this preparedness in attitudes and demographic variables.
More than half of the sample reported complying with 50% or fewer of the actions recommended by the Israeli Home Front Command. Having an increased sense of preparedness and willingness to search for related information were positively correlated with actual household preparedness, and the latter was also found to be the most predictive variable of household preparedness.
Although the overall household preparedness reported is mediocre, the level of preparedness found in this study suggests better preparedness of the population in Israel for its primary threat. The findings suggest that in order to promote preparedness of the Israeli public for war, emphasis should be put on increasing the public demand for information and encouraging people to evaluate their sense of preparedness. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:382–390)
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