Two Teams, One Mission: A Study Using EMS Units in Hospital Triage During Active-Shooter and Other Mass-Casualty Events

NPS-CHDS master’s graduate Tom Simons (MA1803/1804), Firefighter at the Salt Lake City Fire Department, talks about gaps in the response of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and hospitals. His research sought to examine whether the use of EMS field resources in hospital triage could enhance the overall response to active-shooter and other mass-casualty events. Case studies of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Route 91 shooting were conducted. Additionally, an exercise by St. Mark’s Hospital testing the concept of EMS triage at hospitals was analyzed. The Las Vegas case study revealed significant gaps in hospital and EMS response and the Boston Marathon case study showed just how efficient hybrid teams of hospital and EMS personnel could be. A review of the St. Marks exercise showed that EMS crews at the hospital significantly enhanced the efficiency and efficacy of the triage operation. Finally, current EMS operations were reviewed and recommendations made to allow EMS crews to be assigned to the nearest hospitals without harming the on-scene response to these incidents.

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