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The proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has the potential to change the way medical incident commanders (ICs) respond to mass-casualty incidents (MCIs) in triaging victims. The aim of this study was to compare UAV technology to standard practice (SP) in triaging casualties at an MCI.
A randomized comparison study was conducted with 40 paramedic students from the Holland College Paramedicine Program (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada). Using a simulated motor vehicle collision (MVC) with moulaged casualties, iterations of 20 students were used for both a day and a night trial. Students were randomized to a UAV or a SP group. After a brief narrative, participants either entered the study environment or used UAV technology where total time to triage completion, GREEN casualty evacuation, time on scene, triage order, and accuracy were recorded.
A statistical difference in the time to completion of 3.63 minutes (95% CI, 2.45 min-4.85 min; P=.002) during the day iteration and a difference of 3.49 minutes (95% CI, 2.08 min-6.06 min; P=.002) for the night trial with UAV groups was noted. There was no difference found in time to GREEN casualty evacuation, time on scene, or triage order. One-hundred-percent accuracy was noted between both groups.
This study demonstrated the feasibility of using a UAV at an MCI. A non-clinical significant difference was noted in total time to completion between both groups. There was no increase in time on scene by using the UAV while demonstrating the feasibility of remotely triaging GREEN casualties prior to first responder arrival.
Jain T, Sibley A, Stryhn H, Hubloue I.Comparison of unmanned aerial vehicle technologyassisted triage versus standard practice in triaging casualties by paramedic students in a mass-casualty incident scenario. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(4):375–380
Effective emergency medical services (EMS) scene management contributes to the success of the response and mitigation phases. Management of large and sustained incidents is structured around command and general staff in association with geographical divisions, functional branches, and groups. Command and general staff consist of an incident commander or a unified command when multiple disciplines are needed to manage the incident. Reporting to the incident commander is the general staff: operations section chief, plans section chief, logistics section chief, and finance/administration section chief. To manage a multicasualty incident site, initial responders should establish an incident command system and appoint an incident commander and personnel to function as triage unit leader and medical communications coordinator. These essential three functions meet the initial needs of organizing resources, assessing the incident, reporting conditions and hazards (scene safety), requesting additional resources, initiating victim triage, and establishing communications with the EMS and healthcare infrastructure.
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