Fortunately, few of us have had to triage 5, 17, 31, or more patients at a mass casualty incident.
Unfortunately, our triage skills and equipment stagnate from infrequent use. The goal of Triage Tuesday is for EMS and hospital staff to periodically triage patients using START and JumpSTART (or other triage method). Regular use of triage skills should improve competency and capability of EMS and hospitals in managing multiple trauma victims during a real incident. Regular use of triage skills and tag should also increase knowledge and comfort with triage tags.
Participating in Triage Tuesday is simple. Collaborate with your most common destination hospital to choose a weekly or monthly day to practice triage—it does not have to be a Tuesday. On the chosen day EMS providers will triage all medical and trauma patients with a triage tag. You can use your existing supply of triage tags or some other type of marking method like low cost surveyors tape. Document assessment findings and patient information on the triage tag—as you would during a MCI. When an EMS service transfers patient care to the emergency department include the patient’s triage severity and triage tag information in the hand-off report. Hospital emergency departments may also participate by triaging all or some walk-in patients with a triage tag.
Your turn: Does your agency regularly practice triage? What works well and what doesn’t? Please share in the comments.