Firefighting is an important profession during disasters. Firefighters are on duty for many vital functions, including fire extinguishing, search and rescue work, and evacuation of disaster victims to a safe zone. In case of a disaster situation, it is vital to have willing personnel to work in disasters. In the literature, type of disaster, individual demographic factors, family factors, and workplace factors have been identified as factors that influence health care personnel’s willingness to work during a disaster. However, little is known about firefighters and firefighter candidates’ willingness to work in a disaster.
This study was aimed to identify the willingness of civil defense and firefighting program students to work in different disasters after graduation and the factors associated with their willingness.
The universe of this descriptive, epidemiological study was 1,116 students of civil defense and firefighting programs in Turkey. They were from 11 different universities. In the research study, a sample was not chosen as it was aimed at reaching the whole universe. A standardized survey form of 58 questions, prepared by researchers, was used to gather data.
The rate of participation was 65.5%. Of the students, 82.8% said that after graduation they would like to work in disasters, whereas 16.2% were indecisive. The students were less willing to work in nuclear accidents (42.4%) and epidemic disasters (32.1%). In chi-square analysis, “willingness of students to work in disasters after graduation” (dependent variable) and the independent variables: “university of student,” “exercising regularly,” “having a hobby related to disaster,” “having been educated about disaster,” and “being satisfied from the received education” were found statistically significant. When students’ willingness to work in disasters after graduation (ref=unwilling) was analyzed with multi-variate analysis, only “university of students” and “having a hobby related to disasters” were found statistically significant.
Overall, 16.2% of the students stated that they were indecisive to work in disasters in the future, and 1.0% of them stated that they did not want to work in disasters. Moreover, willingness of students to work in nuclear accident and contagious disease disasters has been found to be lower compared to other disaster types.
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