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Although priority tags are considered important in all training and education, there are few reports on their actual use in real incidents. The aim of this study was to compare attitudes on the use of a simple priority tags to the SMART Tag.
A questionnaire was answered by ambulance personnel and the medical teams from hospitals in Stockholm, Sweden, regarding when the priority tags were supposed to be used or were used in their organization. The second questionnaire was conducted during a large-scale disaster exercise at Stockholm Arlanda- Airport. The second questionnaire focused on their experience of the use of SMART Tags during the exercise. Emergency ward personnel are going to be interviewed on how SMART Tag information is communicated when ambulance crew arrives at the hospital.
In the first questionnaire, 211 out of 409 (51%) answered that they had used priority tags in training situations. Of all 409, only 36 (9%) answered that they had used tags in a real incidents and 142 (35%) replied that they never had used priority tags. The answers revealed some doubtfulness of when to use priority tags. In the second questionnaire, many of the participants stated that priority tags should be used in routine operations compared with how they are used today.
It is necessary that the field personnel applies the triage scheme and uses the priority tags, not only during a disaster, but also during smaller emergencies, to maintain familiarity. This secures that the tags are used correctly in real disasters.
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