#mountainrescue #firstresponders #productdevelopment #functionality #accessibility #backpack

During my graduate studies, I worked on an independent research project with 2 other graduate students that explored common inhibiting issues such as, functionality and accessibility that mountain rescue first responders have with their backpacks. The study conducted several semi-structured focus group sessions with mountain rescue first responders over a 1-hour discussion using snowball sampling, limited to the Rocky Mountain Region.

A qualitative approach was applied where the focus group discussion data was transcribed verbatim and organized by common themes identified. Direct content analysis was used where codes derived from the discussion were defined before and during the data analysis process. 

This research study identified five major themes that incorporate the functionality and accessibility issues with the current backpacks, and they are the following: Durability, flexibility, visibility, modularity and usability. The five identified themes were analyzed using the FEA product attribute model as a need assessment of mountain rescue first responders’ backpacks. This was an exploratory study with potential global implications.