Disasters occur when events overwhelm a response’s capabilities.

The Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) is used in such extreme situations to maximize salvageable victims with available resources. This algorithm can be remembered with the acronym RPM:

  • Respirations
  • Perfusion/Pulses
  • Mental Status


Black-tagged patients have a low likelihood of survival with available resources.
Red-tagged patients require immediate attention.
Yellow-tagged patients are in serious condition, but can be delayed.
Green-tagged patients have relatively minor injuries.


Rosen’s Chapter 139, Disaster Preparedness
FEMA Hospital Emergency Response Training Manual

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