I don’t know if I have any first responders that read my blog, BUT I SHOULD! I wanted to discuss something that happens every day. Every day there are large scale accidents that end in mass emergency trauma. Do you know how to deal with that? If you are CPR certified, or a First Responder, or even a Nurse or Doctor, were you ever taught how to deal with large scale casualty?
I am going to tell you how the START Triage System actually works, so even a normal person with very little training can use it to decide who gets treatment first. If you have no skill in basic CPR, I recommend going to a free CPR class to learn it, and then come back to this post, because it may be difficult for someone with NO training to perform the START system.
START stands for Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment. It is the method to quickly determine in a mass casualty, who gets treatment and how fast they get it. It is a difficult thing to do. Think of war. How they had to say that a person was a lost cause, because they just didn’t have the resources to spend the time required to save person #1, because with the same amount of time, they can save persons #2, 3, & 4.
This is kinda the same concept behind triage. A person may not be medically deceased, that is 100% without a doubt, but a person that would get treatment in a one-on-one care situation, may be pronounced deceased when mass-casualty is involved. This is not being mean, or a douchebag, it is simply understanding that more lives can be saved if we follow the simple rules of triage.
In CPR, you learn the ABCs of first aid: Airway, Breathing, Circulation. The START system uses these to determine what the status of the victim is, and how likely rescue will be. Your efforts in triage will help responders with more advanced medical training to assist the victims quickly.
I want you to watch a video. It is about the START system, and how to use it. It is 18 minutes long, and will give you some VERY valuable information:
The START system can be used on an accident with 20 people, 10 people, 3 people, or 1 person. You have to use your judgement, but with just 1 person, you have the resources to assist with first aid or CPR, so you would probably do so. With just a few people, you could use the system, and if you have the resources available after tagging the people, you can decide to allot your resources on those that you initially called deceased if they have any vitals that would tell you that they MAY be saved, but this is AFTER triage and only if you know that giving your time to a possible lost cause, will NOT hinder the care and recovery of the other victims.
Here is an example of a triage tag that can be bought and used. All the tags are perforated, so you can rip off up to the correct notation.
Here is the official START flowchart:
And now an alternate chart that some find easier to read:
And now my favorite triage tag!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know that it may be a little overwhelming at times, because there is alot of information, but watch it a couple times, paying attention to the flowchart and you will get as least enough information to know where your knowledge gaps are, and research them.
I personally would not use a tag, but I found this photo of ribbon rolls that will be cut, and I have adopted the idea to colored electical tape for use in a typical real-life situation. You just get colored electrical tapes that are green, yellow, red, and black (not the pattern on the ribbon photo below) and you don’t need sissors, because the tape is easy to just pull off the roll. You can tag people with the tape now. If you got a basic carbiner, a dogcollar, and the 4 rolls of electrical tape, you have a simple triage notation kit!
I have a free COLD WEATHER INJURIES AND FIRST AID SLIDESHOW that will teach you how to determine and treat many cold related illnesses and injuries that I can email to you. PLEASE CLICK HERE for the slideshow.
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!