What is Triage? Triage is simply sorting injured persons into the most efficient order so that life threatening issues can be dealt with in advance of less serious injuries, assuring more lives saved. Triage is integral to CERT, EMS, and Incident Command training, but is used by wise bystanders in saving lives and reacting to disaster as well. Simple triage and Rapid Treatment (START) is a system used by rescuers, EMS and first responders to efficiently evaluate and categorize all of the victims during a multiple casualty event. Incident command Systems detail specific Triage procedures to deal with small or mass casualty events. The first medical personnel arriving at a mass casualty incident will use a triage tag to categorize the victims by the severity of their injury, in some cases the will move victims to areas noted by triage tarps or areas marked off by triage barrier tapes. Once these rescuers have control of the scene, as well as a scope of the severity and quantity of injuries, the on-scene personnel will call in for additional appropriate resources and assign the incoming emergency service personnel rescue response tasks. The casualties will be easily identifiable in terms of what the appropriate care is needed by the triage tags applied or triage tarp gathering areas. The S.T.A.R.T. Triage evaluation process is conducted very quickly (generally 60 seconds or less.) Once the evaluation is complete, the victims are labeled with one of the four triage categories.

Four Triage Categories

  • Minor delayed care / can delay up to three hours
  • Delayed urgent care / can delay up to one hour
  • Immediate immediate care / life-threatening
  • Deceased victim is dead or mortally wounded / no care required