When large-scale emergencies occur, it often takes far too long before victims receive the care their injuries demand. Now a new electronic system has been designed to support helpers during the initial assessment of victims and to speed up patient care.
The eTriage system will locate casualties and transmit their vital signs such as pulse, res- piratory rate, and blood oxygen to emergency response control centers in real time.
eTriage consists of several elements. Instead of using paper tags, first responders put color-coded armbands made of light, bendy plastic on casualties. These triage armbands are the cornerstone of the system and comprise a GPS sensor, an RFID chip, and a net- work component for communication with the data network. Unharmed people receive only an armband with GPS sensor, whereas unstable and severely injured victims have sensors attached to their bodies that transmit vital signs to the emergency response control center. The armband functions as an interface and network node. The data can be transmitted via a ZigBee – a slow but far-ranging and economical radio network – but also via WLAN or the cellular network.
Rescuers see at a glance where the majority of severely injured casualties are located. They can decide immediately which hospitals victims should be taken to, whether on-site care is sufficient or whether heli- copters should be requested. “With our eTriage system, a severely injured person categorized as red is reported within no more than 30 seconds and can be evacuated immediately. With the conventional paper tag method, it often takes up to 30 minutes before the victim is evacuated,” says Elmasllari.
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