Introduction: Following major disasters, there is a huge demand for assistance to casualties, which is often surpassing local capacities to cope. In particular, this is evident in the case of extracting trapped individuals from underneath the rubbles of collapsed buildings. To increase its rescuers' capacities, the state of Israel launched a nation-wide campaign to train high-school students in Light Search and Rescue (LSR) skills. The aim of this study is to explore the retention of perceived resilience, self-efficacy and knowledge following these trainings. Methods: A cluster randomized study involving 19 clusters comprising of 35 schools was performed during the first semester of the school year. Students were asked to complete a self-reporting questionnaire before, immediately after and six months following the LSR training. In total, 1,989 questionnaires were collected, of which 830 (∼42%) were paired with data from all three time points. Results: A significant increase in all measurements was observed immediately post-training. This improvement was retained at significantly higher levels compared to before training, despite a downward trend in attitudes and skills retention. Discussion: This study demonstrates the effectiveness of LSR training in improving trainees' perception of resilience, self-efficacy and knowledge in dealing with the consequences of major earthquakes. Moreover, the study shows that the improvements obtained are retained at significantly high levels even six months following the training. Engaging communities in LSR training can increase their resilience and empower them to better cope with adversities.
- Light search and rescue