Teamwork at work: Disaster planning with a tabletop exercise.

It’s all about the orange … Code Orange!

The VGH Emergency Department (ED) got busy last Thursday! That is, busy in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

Planning for a potential Code Orange and disaster management were the focus of the ED’s latest Education Day. It was an all-hazards approach to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. And, the multidisciplinary education effort involved our colleagues from Trauma services, including Dr. Naisan Garraway, access services, blood transfusion services, security and the EOC.

Teaching from experience

Dr. Chris Lee presenting on SALT.

Susan Harrison-Salt, ED nurse educator, presented on the disaster paradigm of incident command and shared first-hand accounts of lessons learned from her experiences at the Superdome in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina touched down.

Emergency physician Dr. Chris Lee presented on SALT triaging — Sort, Access, Life-saving interventions, and Treatment/Transport. SALT was developed as a national all-hazards mass casualty initial triage standard for all patients.

Learning all about SALT triaging

With the SALT triage system, assessment and life-saving interventions go hand in hand. There’s no need for timing radial pulses or counting respirations in a SALT assessment, only answering simple yes-or-no questions, which is completely different from how we in the ED do things on a day-to-day basis. After a SALT triage decision, the patient is colour-coded and directed into the appropriate area in the ED.

Dr. Garraway in discussion about SALT triaging.

The education day ended with and interactive tabletop exercise where everyone participated in SALT triaging, moving ‘patients’ throughout the ED to practice SALT triaging and disaster preparedness.

Exercises like this require a significant amount of planning and preparation and we would like to give a special thank you to Cassie Wright, Sophie Pelliter and Terra Lee, the disaster working team, and the EOC for all their hard work and dedication to disaster planning.

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