November 7, 2023
Research Reveals Significant Gaps in First Responder Training and Well-Being
Report captures the views of over 600 first responders to provide a meaningful look at the state of preparedness, training, and well-being at public safety organizations around the country
TAMPA, FL, November 1, 2023 – New research from Vector Solutions, the leading provider of technology solutions to help train, prepare, and retain public safety professionals, reveals how prepared law enforcement officers and EMS, fire, and 911 ECC workers feel to tackle the unique situations they face every day. Vector Solutions’ Preparing Our First Responders report surveyed more than 600 full-time public safety professionals in a law enforcement, EMS, fire, or 911 ECC role in the United States with findings indicating there are significant gaps in first responder training and well-being resources.
Vector Solutions’ latest study shows that 95% of first responders feel they receive initial trainings that adequately prepare them for the real world. However, 78% of respondents felt compelled to revisit their training after encountering an incident. Additionally, the data also shows that these professionals have high mental health concerns that are not being sufficiently addressed.
“Proper training is critical at all times for first responders,” said Doug Kazensky, former police training sergeant, officer of 23+ years, and Solutions Engineer at Vector Solutions. “By equipping these professionals with the ongoing training they need throughout their careers, we can help ensure that they feel prepared for every situation they may encounter in the real world.”
While public safety professionals are receiving the on-the-job resources they require, there is a significant concern over the mental health resources provided. While 72% of respondents worry how their occupation affects their mental health, half of law enforcement professionals have even considered leaving their job due to the lack of well-being support.
“Everyday our first responders can face extreme challenges on the job,” said Robbi King, veteran firefighter and Solutions Engineer at Vector Solutions. “If they’re being asked to show up for their communities every day but they’re still not receiving the resources they need, everyone will feel the impact of it.”
Additional Vector Solutions findings on the state of preparedness, training, and well-being that public safety organizations are facing:
Desire for Comprehensive Training
When it comes to the format of trainings, a striking majority of respondents agree that hands-on training is preferred and nearly half of respondents favor scenario-based instruction. However, law enforcement officers who supplemented their initial training with online training were more likely to feel prepared following their trainings.
- 82% of law enforcement officers said their training prepared them for the realities of the field, but those who leveraged online versions of part of their initial trainings are 12% more likely than average to say this
- 71% of all first responders surveyed favor hands-on training while 45% of respondents prefer scenario-based training
Despite High Confidence Levels, Respondents Face Major Obstacles
Issues including staffing shortages, low morale, and equipment concerns are impacting a large number of first responders in their everyday roles.
- 65% of first responders’ organizations are facing staffing shortages
- 47% are battling low morale in their departments and respondents who work at ECCs were 52% more likely than average to face issues with morale
First Responders Are Worried for Their Well-Being
Mental and physical well-being are heightened concerns across the board for first responders but it’s clear that those who have access to mental health training are reaping the benefits of it.
- 91% of respondents who have access to mental health training say it’s beneficial
- 6 in 10 first responders have witnessed an incident in the past 12 months that impacted their mental health
- 55% of EMS, fire, and 911 ECC workers and 82% of law enforcement officers worry about how their job impacts their physical health
All findings are based on a survey of more than 600 full-time public safety professionals in a law enforcement, EMS, fire, or 911 ECC role, conducted from August – September, 2023. Survey conducted at 95% confidence, +/- 4% margin of error. Each respondent works full-time as a first responder, is 18+, and lives in the United States.
ABOUT VECTOR SOLUTIONS for FIRE & EMS
Vector Solutions for Fire & EMS is the industry leader in training and workforce management technology that enables Fire and Rescue Departments to meet their demanding training, compliance, and preparedness objectives. The Vector Solutions public safety suite of products includes software for training management, policy distribution, personnel scheduling, critical incident and exposure tracking, and promoting a positive department culture. Its online course library includes more than 450 hours of fire department training with 250+ hours of CAPCE-approved EMS recertification courses. Trusted by 10,000 public safety agencies and 2 million first responders, Vector’s purpose-built technology streamlines the full lifecycle of personnel management because readiness saves lives. For more information about Vector Solutions for Fire & EMS, visit https://www.vectorsolutions.com/industries/public-safety/.
ABOUT VECTOR SOLUTIONS for LAW ENFORCEMENT
Vector Solutions for Law Enforcement is the industry leader in operational readiness technology that enables Law Enforcement Departments, Academies, and POST organizations to meet their demanding training, compliance, and preparedness objectives. The Vector Solutions public safety suite of products includes software for training management, policy distribution, personnel scheduling, equipment management, early intervention, and promoting a positive and transparent agency culture. Its accredited online course library includes IADLEST NCP-certified courses approved for POST annual training requirements. Trusted by 10,000 public safety agencies and 2 million first responders, Vector’s purpose-built technology covers the full lifecycle of personnel management, from hire-to-retire, because readiness saves lives. For more information about Vector Solutions for Law Enforcement, visit https://www.vectorsolutions.com/industries/public-safety/law-enforcement/.
ABOUT VECTOR SOLUTIONS
Vector Solutions is the leading provider of impactful technology solutions dedicated to driving safer, smarter, better decision-making in the world’s most critical industries. Embedded into daily workflows to drive improvements in compliance, safety, performance, and preparedness, our software includes training management, industry-focused online course libraries, EHS management, workforce scheduling, risk communication, operational readiness, and more. Vector’s unique combination of information and technology – delivered when and where it is needed – is integral to our more than 24 thousand clients looking to achieve better outcomes and safeguard lives. Vector is committed to providing resources to support those who need them most and launched a collection of free courses on critical mental health and safety topics through Vector Cares. For more information, visit www.vectorsolutions.com. For access to free Vector Cares courses visit https://www.vectorsolutions.com/about-us/vector-cares/.