Emergency preparedness and intervention: Social work education needs in Israel


  • Patricia A. Findley, DrPH, MSW
  • Richard Isralowitz, PhD
  • Alexander Reznik, PhD




emergency preparedness, social work, Israel, disaster response


Background: Emergency preparedness and response is gaining increasing global attention; numerous conditions contribute to disaster situations including acts of terror and war, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. Internationally, social workers are among the first responders addressing needs of children, families, and others affected by traumatic events.

Objectives: Assess the level of emergency preparedness and experience of intervening of social workers in Negev, Israel.

Methods: Social workers (n _ 183) employed by public and nonprofit nongovernment organizations throughout the Negev, Israel, including population centers of Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Sderot were queried for this study regarding their experience and training in emergency preparedness and interventions.

Results: Seventy-six percent of study participants had 10 years or less experience; and, the majority (56.1 percent) reported they treat trauma and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Overall, the types of populations with whom the participants worked with were children and adolescents (65.5 percent), adults (59.6 percent), individuals with drug or alcohol dependence (30.1 percent), people with serious mental illness (27.9 percent), reporting sexual abuse (25.7 percent), those with physical disabilities (20.8 percent), and elderly (18.6 percent). Screening and referral were the most common services provided, especially by older, more experienced social workers who were more likely to have received training to provide disaster mental health intervention. Respondents reported disaster intervention training related to work with children and families to be most important.

Conclusion: Further research should consider more targeted studies of on emergency preparedness policies for vulnerable populations, evaluation of implementation procedures, and training on both the professional and community levels among other issues.

Author Biographies

Patricia A. Findley, DrPH, MSW

MSW, School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Richard Isralowitz, PhD

Spitzer School of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Alexander Reznik, PhD

Spitzer School of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.


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How to Cite

Findley, DrPH, MSW, P. A., R. Isralowitz, PhD, and A. Reznik, PhD. “Emergency Preparedness and Intervention: Social Work Education Needs in Israel”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 12, no. 3, May 2014, pp. 229-35, doi:10.5055/jem.2014.0175.