Community, according to Anderson and McFarlane (2000), is described as a “complex webs of people shaped by relationships, interdependence, mutual interests, and patterns of interaction” (p. 93). Further, Anderson and McFarlane note “The community encompasses people in a particular time and place” (p. 93).
There are two definitions of community that apply to the volunteer firefighters of Erie County surveyed for the purpose of this assessment. These include geography or political community, as well as demographic community.
Geography of political community refers to place or location and its specific characteristics such as climate and terrain. The assessment was exclusive to Erie County volunteer firefighters from two different volunteer firefighting companies. These companies were the Synder and Main-Transit volunteer fire companies.
A demographic community indicates a particular group with particular similarities or human characteristics. Anderson and McFarlanne (2000) explained that demographics includes age and sex characteristics, as well as racial and ethnic distribution. The assessment of the community included solely a segment of volunteer firefighters, versus those who are paid to provide the service.
Approaches Used to Assess Community
The investigators utilized a systems and descriptive approach as frameworks for this community assessment.
The systems approach involves the interrelatedness of aspects of the firefighting community. The framework used was Neuman’s community assessment wheel, taken from her Community as Partner model (Anderson and McFarlane, p. 166) (see Appendix B). Various subsystems influence the attitudes of firefighters regarding blood donations. These subsystems include family, health, education, economics, politics, religion, recreation, housing, transportation, and communication.
Description of Survey
A five-question survey was developed to ascertain the views of volunteer firefighters regarding the subject of...