Triage is an often overlooked and under utilized skill. We often only see its deployment in Mass Casualty Incidents/Disasters. While it is imperative in those situations, it also has value on the every day calls.
For example how often do you deploy into a Triage mode during an MVA? Assigning a person to initially triage patients in an MVA allows for the company officer to get accurate patient numbers, and condition in order to call for the appropriate level of resources. This also allows the resources already on scene to be deployed to the most appropriate patient, and not waste time in treating non critical injuries, while critical patients wait.
This may be something that we do informally, but deploying into a formal triage mode not only allows for the things I have already mentioned, but will improve your triage skills on the major emergency.
There are several triage methods out there, almost all focusing on assessing Respirations,Pulse, and Mental Status (R.P.M.), here in Virginia we use the S.T.A.R.T. system. No matter what you use you have to dust it off every once in a while or like any other skill you will lose it.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6Vy45kx4WQ]
The video above is one example of a training drill you can use, however it does not have to be this formal. When I teach Mass Casualty Incident Management for the state we use flash cards with patient information on them, and allow students to place them into piles based on their triage color (Red,Yellow,Green, and Black). If you wish to get outside take those same flash cards and some orange traffic cones, attach the cards to the cones and then spread out the cones. When the triage leader approaches the cones they read the card, and then mark the patient using the marking system your agency uses. Another way to train on this skill is that have “Triage Tuesday”. On every Tuesday every patient you encounter throughout your tour gets assessed in a triage mode, assigned and marked with a triage category, and gets a triage tag written on them in addition to the PPCR (pre hospital patient care report).
The possibilities are endless, especially coupled with some creativity! So spend some time this month going over your triage procedure, and plan.
Lastly on a quick side note, some MAJOR things are coming down the pike here. I do not want to 100% announce everything yet, but what I can tell you is that Ryan Pennington from http://www.viewsfromthejumpseat.blogspot.com/ have teamed up and are going to be bringing some great content to the masses through a new medium for both of us. We are excited and I think it is going to be awesome, so STAY TUNED!
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!