Triage means the process of separating casualties in order of urgency. The term is usually used in a medical context, especially in circumstances in which there are many people needing attention. At the beginning of an incident triage enables rapid prioritization, and the process is repeated as the incident develops, with increasing levels of sophistication. The aim is to get the response level right throughout.
The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) says that an exciting project is now under way to apply the principles of triage to shipping casualties.
Everyone in SAR knows the difficulty there can be in assessing exactly how bad a situation is. A vessel is on fire, say; but what help is needed? Will she be abandoned; will the crew deal with the problem unaided; or is the solution somewhere in between? The Vessel Triage Project will develop tools that will help everyone involved to assess the situation they face objectively, and respond appropriately.
The multinational project is led by the Finnish Border Guard and funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Participation is free and open to all.
The project leaders are keen to involve public authorities including SAR services, research institutes and universities, and the merchant shipping industry.
The project got under way in September and is scheduled to run until May 2015.
More information may be found here.