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The aim of this study was to determine if school personnel can understand and apply the Sort, Assess, Life-saving interventions, Treat/Transport (SALT) triage methods after a brief training. The investigators predicted that subjects can learn to triage with accuracy similar to that of medically trained personnel, and that subjects can pass an objective-structured clinical exam (OSCE) evaluating hemorrhage control.
School personnel were eligible to participate in this prospective observational study. Investigators recorded subject demographic information and prior medical experience. Participants received a 30-minute lecture on SALT triage and a brief lecture and demonstration of hemorrhage control and tourniquet application. A test with brief descriptions of mass-casualty victims was administered immediately after training. Participants independently categorized the victims as dead, expectant, immediate, delayed, or minimal. They also completed an OSCE to evaluate hemorrhage control and tourniquet application using a mannequin arm.
Subjects from two schools completed the study. Fifty-nine were from a private school that enrolls early childhood through grade eight, and 45 from a public school that enrolls grades seven and eight (n = 104). The average subject age was 45 years and 68% were female. Approximately 81% were teachers and 87% had prior cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Overall triage accuracy was 79.2% (SD = 10.7%). Ninety-six (92.3%) of the subjects passed the hemorrhage control OSCE.
After two brief lectures and a short demonstration, school personnel were able to triage descriptions of mass-casualty victims with an overall accuracy similar to medically trained personnel, and most were able to apply a tourniquet correctly. Opportunities for future study include integrating high-fidelity simulation and mock disasters, evaluating for knowledge retention, and exploring the study population’s baseline knowledge of medical care, among others.