Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Jared Linebach


FEMA, Imitation Theory, Tarde, Florida, Emergency Management, disaster response, training effectiveness, training perspectives, stress management, mentoring




This paper looks at the effectiveness of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training from the perspective of those using the training. In addition, it looks at how the Imitation Theory developed by Tarde may or may not impact effective training, specifically in response by those exposed to a large-scale disaster. The researcher accomplishes this study through qualitative analysis of interviews conducted in the Panhandle of Florida with those who have had some FEMA training and have had at least one personal experience with a large-scale disaster. The researcher discovered that it is common for those working in the Panhandle of Florida to have multiple experiences because of the size of many hurricanes and because many of the disasters require large-scale responses from multiple agencies. Even if the storm does not hit a particular jurisdiction directly, personnel from a jurisdiction may still respond to assist the impacted area. This mutual aid response exposes the responders to similar stress levels as those responding in their areas. The research revealed that training seems effective but that there is a need to develop additional stress management tools that mentors can use in the future.

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