Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Sharon Gordon Mullane


EMS, Pandemic, Bioterrorism, Preparedness


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic increased America’s awareness of the amount of death and damage to the economy that pandemics and bioterrorism can cause. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant shortfalls in national preparedness for a pandemic or bioterrorism event. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the current preparedness level of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in the United States to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a natural or manufactured pandemic across the United States. The significance of this study is an accurate picture of preparedness for pandemic and bioterrorism events by American EMS systems. This preparedness level can be compared to the desired preparedness posture to address the delta between desired and observed preparedness. The theoretical foundation for this quantitative research project was based on multiple streams theory and utilized descriptive and inferential statistics. The research questions focused on the current preparedness of EMS providers to effectively respond to a pandemic or bioterrorist attack and possible improvements to current EMS practices that would improve the effectiveness of future responses. The study population consisted of 398 (N – 398) individual and currently credentialed EMS providers representing various prehospital certification levels from all types of EMS systems through an electronic standardized ethically reviewed questionnaire. A chi-square test of statistical significance and inferential statistical analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in the perception of EMS providers in various demographic categories and their perception of preparedness to respond to a pandemic or bioterrorist attack.