Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Emergency Management


Emergency Management & Public Administration

Committee Chair

Jane Kushma, Professor of Emergency Management


While it is important for the public to be prepared for emergencies and disasters, it is perhaps more important for first responders, as members of the public, to be prepared for emergencies and disasters, so they may do the job the public expects of them. This study explores the preparedness of first responders in a large, diverse, and heavily populated metro-Atlanta county. It also investigates impediments to these first responders being better prepared and the role cognitive biases play in preparedness for this group. The study finds that the study population, as a whole, is underprepared. The research also reveals certain impediments and cognitive biases that show a correlation to preparedness levels in the study population. These findings suggest steps organizational leaders and policymakers can take to enhance preparedness levels among this group of first responders by removing impediments and mitigating cognitive biases.

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