PullTag™ - Save a limb, save a life: An Innovative Triage Tag System for Mass Casualty Response

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The Ohio State University

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Responding to a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) is harrowing and chaotic. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel are often the first on the scene and must immediately start triaging and treating patients. Triage is organizing and prioritizing patients by injury severity. During an MCI, EMS personnel must treat patients within a 30 to 60 second window in order to ensure the maximal survival of the injured on scene. During triage, EMS personnel use a triage tag, a tag to identify injury severity. The triage tag has become more common as MCIs have become more complex such as biohazard scenarios. However, the more thorough the information, the more complex the triage card has become until it is estimated to take a whopping four minutes to fill out. How can first responders fill out this tag when they must only spend a maximum of sixty seconds on each patient? Additionally, how can first responders convey important information such as injury and patient status while also quickly attending to every casualty on the field? This begs the question of how to be efficient as possible while conveying the most information. To better understand the experience of EMS personnel MCI response, I conducted three co-design sessions. The initial sessions included feedback regarding design conjectures and initial brainstorming. The last co-design session asked the first responders to design their own triage tag. Additionally, I observed a mock mass casualty training at the Columbus Airport which included 88 casualty volunteers and EMS responders from all over Columbus. I also visited Fire Station #1 to look at the CFD mass casualty response vehicle. It is vital that EMS responders use triage tags when responding to an MCI because it can save lives. Therefore the primary and secondary research informed the final design of the PullTag. The PullTag is a newly designed triage tag that easily and efficiently conveys patient information on the scene through a pull tab mechanism. The pull tab mechanism reveals information underneath the tab to indicate patient status and eliminates writing which allows for a more efficient triage response.



Mass Casualty Incident Response, Triage, Triage tag, EMS response, EMS personnel, First responders