The RapTag Triage System

I have been working for some time to develop a very simple Triage System that really works in the first few minutes of an MCI. The key to making a Triage System work well is to keep it very simple. Many systems currently exist, but none do a very good job in the first few minutes of an incident. Most rely on some form of Triage Tags to sort the injured.

Triage Tags are little more than fancy colored toe tags, originally designed to identify the deceased. They do that very well. You just pull open the Morgue drawer, and without even needing to look at the person you can tell who they are. Their name is written on the tag, the first thing you see when you open the steel drawer door. They just don’t work very well for the purpose of Medical Triage.

Medical Triage is a rapid sorting procedure with one critical purpose; identify which of multiple patients needs to be carried to the Medical Station first. At more than a few feet toe tags are difficult to see. At night or in the rain they are impossible to see. Colored Tapes are probably better than tags, but it’s still much faster to slap on a RapTag, and you can easily see them in the dark. What frequently happens with traditional triage tools is that the first litter bearers to arrive on the scene tend to carry away the first hurt person they find. You simply cannot distinguish the most injured from the less significantly injured at a distance. As a result, Triage breaks down and gets performed AFTER, and not BEFORE, the patients are carried to the Medical Treatment Station.

With RapTags you can rapidly sort patients by their severity of injury, and in just a second slap the RapTag on any available limb. If you really want them to stand out, put on more than one RapTag. You can easily see RapTags in any condition; just play a flashlight across the field of injured and the red-tagged ones go first, the yellow ones second, and the green-tagged patients go last. The goal is to get the most injured patients treated and transported first. That is exactly what the RapTag does, and is does it faster than anything else can.

The RapTag Tactical Holster holds 40 RapTags, stored flat and ready to use instantly. It can be quickly attached to a uniform or duty belt, and then secured around your thigh like a tactical drop-holster. It is color-coded Red to match the Triage Officer Vest, or it could be used alone. It has an accessory pocket should you wish to carry traditional toe tags for secondary use at the Medical Treatment Station.

The RapTag MCI Command Vest set is next component of the system. The vest kit consists of four Command Vests that include, Triage Officer, Transport Officer, Staging Officer, and Triage Officer. This is the core initial MCI command structure most widely taught today. The Vests are made of high quality materials, and are color coded by function.

The MCI Cones are 4 folded flat triangular cones with weighted bases for establishing Medical Treatment Stations. Each has a highly reflective, numbered surface on both sides; one cone with a red number 1, one with a yellow number 2, one with a green number 3, and the last has a black number 4. You just take them out and drop them. They work on any surface, including ground, gravel, or pavement. They are easily visible at night or bad weather. They take up very little space. Unlike tarps you cannot see in the dark, and flags that won’t stay put, the MCI Cones do the same thing the RapTags do – they really work. They are also the most compact tools for designation of prioritized Medical Treatment Stations available.

All components of the RapTag MCI Kit come in one compact bag, small enough to fit under your Squad Bench. The RapTag MCI Kit is the first Triage System designed for use not just on “the big one”, but also on smaller micro-incidents. This gives you the chance to practice your Triage skills. Then every ambulance can be ready to initiate a functional Triage Command structure early, rather than waiting for the trailer and command staff that arrives long after confusion has taken control.


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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3 Responses to The RapTag Triage System

  1. Nae says:

    Thank you for the great tip for getting that gurney in the ambulance by myself.  I will practice that this weekend.
    Is the raptag sticky?  Does it unpeel itself like a Post-It?  If so, how does it stay on the clothing, arm, head, etc?  This is all very interesting stuff.
    I sure appreciate the well written, great advice!
    God bless you and keep you,
    Nae  :o)

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks Nae,

    The RapTag is a piece of reflective plastic over a flat thin piece of spring
    steel. When you "slap it" on an arm or leg the spring coils the
    RapTag around the limb in a circular fashion. No it is not sticky. It\’s fast to
    apply, and you can just pull them off and re-flatten them for storage. Did you
    ever see the kids "slap wraps", often sold for bicycle safety back in
    the 80\’s? That is what these are, only longer so they can go around an ankle too.

  3. Amanda says:

    Hey there
    Thanks for the comment you left on my Space about hip-hop culture. I appreciate your point of view. Your wife has a good point to make. I would have been by your Space sooner but nowadays it seems like life and school is beating me down.
     I hope to hear from you again.
    CandyMandy in Nova Scotia 🙂

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