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Emerging Infectious Disease Videos for Prehospital Providers

The Emerging Infectious Diseases Videos for Prehospital Providers, a video series designed to train EMTs and other first responders, was released in 2018 by the UMBC Department of Emergency Health Services. The video series serves as an educational tool to train first responders like EMTs to respond to unknown infectious disease encounters or outbreaks. The videos take a “multi-pathogen approach” to educating pre-hospital responders so that they can immediately respond and help patients, even when they are uncertain what the condition is.

The videos’ “whole-pathogen approach” educates providers to respond to a variety of unknown infectious diseases by training them to react to what they observe. By educating health care providers in responding to infectious diseases, the providers become better protected while on the job. If they don’t feel safe, they are less likely to respond to emergencies, and proper training of protocol will keep all parties protected.

While the videos’ protocol were designed with ebola exposure in mind, the multi-pathogen approach makes them applicable to other diseases, by taking basic precautions based on transmission method and symptoms respondents can see on the site.

Many of the videos were filmed in local communities in Baltimore County, including at local fire departments.

The cornerstone of the project is the comprehensive view of infectious disease the videos offer. The video series brings together experts in biology, epidemiology, and disaster response while combining the expertise with UMBC’s EHS department, which has experience in creating online education. The videos break down complex material and help first responders learn the biology behind the diseases and fully understand how they spread, enabling them to better react and protect themselves when responding to emergencies. In addition to biology, the videos address public health, communications, case management, technology, and logistics coordination, while integrating diverse approaches and philosophies of treatment.

The project was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) via the Maryland Department of Health. The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS) developed the training protocols displayed in the videos.

The video series was produced by Becca Scharf, Rick Bissell, and Lucy Wilson of the UMBC Department of Emergency Health Services, and overseen by Department Chair Lee Jenkins. The grant funding was managed by MIPAR.

The video series is available to the public for free, and can be found here.