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Theme 1: Preparedness
Research projects within the preparedness theme will focus on optimising preparedness of both emergency responders and members of the public for mass emergencies and disasters. Preparedness exercises and preparedness-based risk communication often lack empirical grounding and effective evaluation, and can perpetuate current health inequalities. We will implement empirically-grounded approaches to enhance existing preparedness work across different interventions, scenarios and target groups.
Emergency responders have previously faced health disparities in extreme events and are included in our work on health inequalities and unven burdens of disaster risk. Our current work with emergency responders focuses on developing our research to improve UKHSA's programme of emergency exercises, for example by testing whether additional follow-up with healthcare workers improves how much they learn. We also work closely with emergency responders to understand challenges to interoperability and identify ways to overcome these.
We work with members of the public to examine how preparedness, communication preferences, risk perceptions and behavioural intentions and responses to health threats vary amongst different groups. We also identify and test ways to help UKHSA educate and better prepare the public (including underserved groups) for various risks that would have a severe impact if they occurred, such as chemical terrorism. This includes through analysis of household prepareness for disasters.