EMS Tips Operations

Tips to Implement Field Triage Decision Scheme

We have a plan to save more lives. National Expert Panel, convened by the CDC, has recently developed and deployed a Field Triage Decision Scheme for EMS providers to select the most appropriate level of care for trauma patients.

The decision scheme uses four criteria – physiologic, anatomic, MOI, and special considerations – to make the determination. It also allows and encourages EMS providers to use their best judgment to make a decision to get the right patient to the right place in the right time.

The CDC has a variety of information and training materials available at

Read Everyday EMS Tips for implementing the Field Triage Decision Scheme at your EMS service:

1) Educate EMS providers about the purpose and use of the decision scheme. This is not a mass casualty protocol. It is a decision tool to identify major trauma patients and transport them to the most appropriate level of trauma care. 2) Understand that hospitals ability to care for trauma patients is categorized as Level I, II, III, or IV. The highest level of trauma care is at Level I and II hospitals.

3) Participate in your regional trauma system which is a collaborative effort of hospitals, EMS, law enforcement, injury prevention, and other stake holders to prevent trauma and reduce the consequences of injury mortality and injury.

4) Work with your EMS medical director and receiving hospital or hospitals to make sure your protocols mirror the recommendations of the National Expert Panel. The Field Triage Decision Scheme is based on the best evidence available regarding trauma patient care.

5) Learn more about the Field Triage Decision Scheme by reading the National Expert Panel recommendations.

6) After reading the report take a short quiz about the Field Triage Decision Scheme to receive 2.0 CECBEMS approved continuing education hours.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.