Looking for Firefighters, Veterans, and First Responders


I need your help making contacts with people who work in emergency response. If that’s all you need to know, would you be willing to connect me with your friends, relatives, and colleagues that work in emergency response? If so, you can connect us by email (ishak@utexas[dot]edu) and send your contact a link to this page. Thank you!

I need your help.

As you may know, I am currently working on my dissertation in Communication Studies at UT Austin. I am conducting short interviews with people who have worked in emergency response teams, such as fire crews, military units, emergency medical departments, first response units, S.W.A.T. teams, and bomb squads. I have collected a sizable amount of interviews and hours of observations in the field, and many of them have been wonderfully insightful, but I need more. Apparently, a dissertation is supposed to be rigorous. Who knew?

This is where I need your assistance. I’m asking you to help connect me to your friend, relative, or colleague who works (or has worked):

  • As a firefighter/wildfire crew member

    A map of wildfires in Texas from September 2011. Interviews with members of wildfire crews have been especially useful for this project.
  • As a first responder
  • In the military
  • As an emergency department medical professional 
  • As part of a bomb squad or S.W.A.T. team (or any other tactical team–search and rescue, exploration, etcetera)
Again, these are very short interviews about their experiences by phone or in person–they can be as short as 5 minutes if that’s what works for the interviewee. While I can’t promise large sums of money, I will also happily treat any in-person interviewees to coffee or lunch at their convenience. And the hope is that this project will help make emergency response training more effective and “live-saving”–that’s an indirect benefit to the interviewee, but one that makes this work worthwhile for me.
If you know someone who I can interview for this project, can you do one of the following for me?

Can you introduce me by email?
 If so, send your friend, relative, or colleague a link to this page, and copy me on the email (ishak@utexas[dot]edu). Maybe you could assure them I am not a crazy person, and hopefully things will go well from there. You could even copy and paste this email:
Subject: Interview Request
Hi ______,
My friend Andrew is working on a dissertation about emergency response teams at the University of Texas (bit.ly/UTemergencyproject). He needs to interview some ________(s), and I think you would be a great person to talk to. The interview can be as short as you want. I cc’d him on this email and his contact info is below. Can you help him out?

Contact info for Andrew Ishak:

Can you ask your contact if you can send me their contact info? If you like this alternative to #1, that’s fine with me. Whatever works for you!
Can you post a link to this page on Facebook or Twitter? You can use this shortened link (bit.ly/UTemergencyproject). This is less annoying than you might think for your followers; most people love to help out.

Ideally, I would like to finish my interviews this month. If you have a contact, connecting us will only take 30 seconds of your time, I promise. You can do it right now. (I’ll wait! Thank you!)

At the interviewee’s request, I can promise anyone that their stories and names will remain confidential and anonymous (on top of the fact that no one reads academic articles). If it lends any additional comfort, below are links to a consent form that I use as well as an approved review from UT Austin’s institutional research board.

Consent Form

Approved Review from UT IRB

Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it.

-Andrew Ishak