Date of Award
Doctor of Science (DSc) in Emergency Management
Gregory Shaw, Distinguished Affiliate Professor of Emergency Management
First responders are our nation’s front line defense against intentional or accidental releases of toxic chemical or biological agents. Self-confidence which is a building block of self-efficacy is hypothesized to be malleable and increased through training. The purpose of this study was to determine the change if any, which first responders undergo during Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) training, in their self-confidence to operate in a toxic chemical or biological agent environment. That is to determine if there is a correlation between increased self-confidence and COBRA training. The methodology of this study was based on quantitative methods of analysis and surveys to collect data from students attending COBRA training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), Aniston, Alabama. Collaboration with the CDP ensured the data collected was captured from every student attending COBRA training, thus creating a survey environment wherein there was a 95% plus survey completion rate. The data was collected through a pre and post-training survey, which provided the before and after groups for the study. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the delta between the groups, and the interrater agreement. Hypothesis testing was through paired sample t-testing, ANOVA, and regression analysis. Analysis of the data collected from students was conducted using SPSS statistical sampling software and a spreadsheet. Confidence was set at 95% with a t-score of 1.984 or greater, and a total case sample of 184 participants. Case sampling is based on standard probability sampling for the entire population of paid first responders in the United States.