Disaster-responders -- EMT, police, fire, MRC, and other personnel -- are essential in the work of protecting, saving, and promoting the health and lives of people in crises. However, we are a high-risk group for burnout and compassion fatigue, and must thereby be attentive to our own well-being so that we can do our best work. This app serves to assess and track how we are doing, and provides helpful suggestions and resources for us to use in-the-field, during breaks, and after our shifts/deployments.
Organizations designed to advance emergency-response services are found across local, regional, national, and international arenas. The principal aims of our teams include the preservation of life and property and to restore normal services to the affected population. Secondary to this mission is to support the morale and psychosocial health of the responders and volunteers -- we, ourselves -- in this work.
In 2012, University of Minnesota (UMN) providers and researchers from the School of Public Health, Academic Health Center (Office of Emergency Preparedness), and Department of Family Social Science partnered with colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to develop an innovative self-care app for emergency responders in-the-field. In 2018, they then worked closely with colleagues from police, fire, EMT, and MRC organizations to refine / adapt / improve its usability. This version -- the one that you are engaging with now -- was refined in early 2020 as a modified / simplified tool for team members engaged in responding to the COVID-19 epidemic.