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This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/360,549, filed with the USPTO on Jul. 1, 2010, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to treating casualties and communicating casualty information during an emergency situation, more specifically, the present invention relates to a system and method for assisting casualties, categorizing casualty status, and communicating pertinent casualty information to external emergency response teams during an emergency situation.
2. Background Art
In an emergency situation, access to information about the emergency location and the condition of survivors therein is critical to response time and to the safety of all persons involved with the emergency. For example, response personnel, such as police, fire, ambulance, SWAT team and other law enforcement and emergency responders are often presented with a crisis situation in an unfamiliar setting with many other unknown situational variables. The emergency may be a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, tornado, and the like. The emergency may also be a fire, school shooting, bomb threat, terrorist situation, hostage situation, or other violent threat. Response personnel at the scene may be unfamiliar with the emergency location and may have to question those familiar with the location, assuming they are available, to gain information necessary to appropriately respond to the emergency. This may require delaying emergency response actions while information is gathered at the scene, or otherwise. Highly relevant information may further include the number, location, and current medical status of survivors and casualties. The effectiveness of emergency response teams may be dramatically improved with each additional piece of information that can be considered during the initial strategic assessment of the emergency situation.
Once information such as the number, location, and current medical status of survivors and casualties becomes known, it must be quickly and effectively communicated to the response personnel who have arrived or will be arriving at the scene. Such information will assist responders in locating and prioritizing the evacuation of rescue targets in the form of hidden and/or injured survivors and casualties as the response to the emergency is carried out.
While locations are sometimes equipped with video surveillance systems for internal personnel, such as security guards, such systems are often monitored from a central monitoring position within the location and the scope of the system may not include areas having hidden or injured survivors and casualties. These systems often times are useless to response personnel during an emergency unless the responding personnel are able to access the central monitoring position and the systems are set up to monitor specific locations of interest during the emergency. Typically, such video surveillance information cannot be efficiently communicated to other response personnel or any such gathered information is either inadequate or insufficient.
Quick and efficient access to detailed civilian or victim information is needed to minimize response time and effectively respond to an emergency situation and help mitigate or otherwise minimize casualties from either a continued threat or immediate medical emergencies such as exsanguination.
In light of the exemplary difficulties and problems described above, there is a need for a system and method that can effectively provide critical survivor and/or casualty information to emergency personnel during an emergency situation. Because such situations inherently involve high levels of stress and panic, it is desirable that such systems and methods be extremely “user friendly” and allows personnel to quickly and easily obtain a variety of information that may be pertinent to address a particular situation or tactical plan.
A better understanding of the present invention will be realized from the detailed description that follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of one embodiment of a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 2 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of a packing list for one or more kits or containers of the present invention.
FIG. 3 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of a packing list for one or more kits or containers of the present invention.
FIG. 4 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of a packing list for one or more kits or containers of the present invention.
FIG. 5 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of instructional casualty treatment information that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 6 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of instructional casualty treatment information that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 7 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of instructional casualty treatment information that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 8 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of promotional or instructional material that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 9 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of promotional or instructional material that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 10 depicts at least a portion of one embodiment of promotional or instructional material that may be included with a kit or container of the present invention.
FIG. 11 depicts a generalized side view of at least one of a plurality of casualty placards of the present invention placed in a window.
FIG. 12 depicts one embodiment of at least one of a plurality of casualty placards of the present invention.
FIG. 13 depicts another embodiment of at least one of a plurality of casualty placards of the present invention.
FIG. 14 depicts still another embodiment of at least one of a plurality of casualty placards of the present invention.
FIG. 15 depicts yet still another embodiment of at least one of a plurality of casualty placards of the present invention.
Although the following detailed description contains many specifics for the purposes of illustration, anyone of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that many variations and alterations to the following details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the following preferred embodiments of the invention are set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.
The present invention relates to a system and method for assisting casualties, categorizing survivors, and communicating pertinent casualty and survivor information to external emergency response teams during an emergency situation. The present invention may be set forth in the form of a portable and/or storable system, kit, or container and the present invention may further comprise inventive method steps that may utilize disclosed system components to assist casualties and communicate information to emergency response teams.
As shown in FIG. 1, one embodiment of the present invention pertains to a kit 10 that may comprise a bag or other container 11 for containing emergency medical supplies 15, instructional casualty treatment information 30, a plurality of casualty placards 50, and the like. The kit 10 may be contained within a storage structure or container 11 that may include but is not limited to a bag, backpack, plastic bin, or any other type of storage structure (both portable and non-portable) known within the art. The kit 10 or storage container 11 may further comprise a carrying handle, roller wheels, a shoulder strap, backpack-style straps, and the like allowing for easy mobility of the kit 10 to the location of greatest need during a lockdown or other emergency situation. The dimensions of the kit 10 or container may be adjusted to allow for easy and convenient storage in various room locations about any facility that may be affected by an emergency situation.
FIGS. 2-4 generally depict one embodiment of a list 20 of emergency medical supplies 15 that may be included within a kit 10 or container 11 of the present invention. As an option, kits 10 may be specialized for the specific locations (e.g. factory vs. school), specific potential casualty types (e.g. children vs. adults), specific potential injuries (e.g. chemical wounds vs. gunshot wounds), and the like. As an example, FIGS. 2-4 show lists 20 for kits 10 that are specialized for varying levels of educational facilities. In preferred embodiments for educational facilities, the present invention may comprise separate kits 10 for (1) preschool, kindergarten, and elementary schools; (2) middle schools; (3) high schools; and (4) post-secondary schools. To simplify the selection of emergency medical supplies 15 for each kit 10, the focus or intent of the selected emergency medical supplies 15 may be specifically geared toward injuries that most frequently contribute to mortality rate in emergency situations (e.g. exsanguination). Additionally, larger and/or more complete kits 10 may be stored at strategic locations about a facility thereby allowing for treatment of less common injuries if access to the larger and/or more complete kits 10 is available during the emergency situation.
FIGS. 5-7 generally depict examples of instructional casualty treatment information 30 that may be included within a kit 10 or container 11 of the present invention. Preferably, the instructional casualty treatment information 30 will be kept simple in nature to allow someone having no relevant emergency medical training to quickly and easily understand the method and manner to immediately provide basic emergency medical aid to casualties during or after an emergency situation. FIG. 5 depicts one example of generalized priority steps for providing emergency medical assistance in the form of controlling any and all bleeding, opening casualty airways, placing casualties in proper recovery positions, maintaining body temperature of casualties, and continually reassuring and reassessing casualties. More specifically, FIG. 6 depicts one example of instructional casualty treatment information 30 specifically geared to control bleeding in a patient's extremity by proper application of a tourniquet, such as the Combat Application Tourniquet® licensed and manufactured by Composite Resources Inc. Similarly, FIG. 7 depicts one example of instructional casualty treatment information 30 specifically geared to instruct a user in moving a patient into a proper recovery position after bleeding has been controlled and airways have been opened. FIGS. 5-7 are just examples of a wide variety of instructional casualty treatment information 30 that may be included within the kit 10. Additional instructional casualty treatment information 30 may provide for treatment steps of any number of injuries that may be relevant to the location or facility where the kit 10 is stored.
FIGS. 8-10 generally depict examples of promotional or informative material 40 that may also be included with kits 10 of the present invention. While most conventional safety drills focus on fire safety, there has not been a fire related death in a school within the United States since the early twentieth century. Drills, systems, and instructions are best directed to higher causes of mortality within such institutions including but not limited to gun violence in schools, domestic terrorist incidents, natural disasters, and the like. FIG. 9 depicts one potential method of response for survivors and casualties encountering an emergency situation. The mnemonic, L-E-A-R-N, may be used to instruct survivors and casualties in the most appropriate steps to follow during an emergency situation. Such steps may include: L, lockdown procedures and fortification of a room for an ad hoc safe haven from any continued potential threat; E, exsanguination prevention by addressing severe bleeding and properly applying tourniquets and other medical devices as necessary; A, airways issues are then addressed once severe bleeding is controlled; R, recovery positions are used for unconscious or semi-conscious casualties with continued reassurance and reassessment of casualties now that the major bleeding and breathing issues have been addressed; and N, notifying arriving emergency response personnel of the number and status of casualties in the room or immediate area.
FIGS. 11-15 generally depict at least one of a plurality of casualty placards 50 and a preferred method of use. A plurality of casualty placards 50 within a kit 10 of the present invention are designed to notify external emergency response teams as to the casualty status within a given room or immediate area during a crisis situation. In a preferred embodiment, as shown in FIG. 11, at least one of the plurality of casualty placards 50 may be placed in a window 51 of a building or other structure 52 to most easily notify or communicate casualty number and/or medical status to emergency responders. The plurality of casualty placards 50 may further comprise any number of known methods for attachment to the surface of a window including but not limited to tape, double-sided tape, suction cups, adhesive, and the like. Each of the plurality of casualty placards 50 may comprise a wipe board or other erasable surface on which the number and type of casualties in the room or immediate area may be indicated and thereafter updated for the benefit of the emergency response teams. Such an erasable surface may also allow casualties to communicate any other additional customized or critical information to the emergency response teams such as the identity or the last known location of violent perpetrators, the specific cause of an industrial accident, and the like.
In a preferred embodiment, the plurality of casualty placards 50 may distinguish casualties into four categories wherein each category has its own placard. Such categories may be medically prioritized by color ranging from casualties needing the least urgent medical attention to casualties needing the most urgent medical care. In such a preferred system, a black placard may designate the number of deceased casualties in the room or immediate area (FIG. 12), a green placard may designate the number of stable or minimally injured casualties in the room or immediate area (FIG. 13), a yellow placard may designate the number of casualties not falling into either the green or red categories that are in the room or immediate area (FIG. 14), and a red placard may designate the number of casualties in immediate need of medical attention that are in the room or immediate area (FIG. 15). Colors are just one means to medically categorize casualties and are not restrictive of the scope of the present invention. Numerals, short descriptive terms, and any other category designating system known within the art may be substituted for the color category system of the preferred embodiment that is used to communicate the status of casualties with a room or immediate area to emergency responders and are well within the scope of the present invention. In an alternate embodiment, instead of each casualty category having its own colored placard a single placard may be provided that may have specific sections or regions for designating the number of casualties for each of the medical status categories that are in a room or the immediate area. While not being a preferred embodiment, such an embodiment is within the scope of the present invention and serves to minimize the number of components necessary within a kit 10 of the present invention.
The reader will see that, according to one embodiment of the invention, the present invention provides for a unique system and method for communicating pertinent survivor and casualty information to external emergency response teams during an emergency situation. In use, facilities that are potential targets for terrorist or other violent assaults, facilities prone to nature disasters, and the like may store kits 10 of the present invention throughout their facilities, preferably having a kit 10 within each room or section of the facility. The kits 10, as described above, may comprise emergency medical supplies 15 that may be specifically tailored to wounds and injuries most common to the environment of the specific facility in question. As an example, schools and other educational facilities that have most recently been prone to armed assaults may potentially employ kits 10 that are specifically aimed to treat gunshot wounds and other similar injuries.
Upon the occurrence of an emergency situation, individuals at the location or otherwise present during the emergency may turn to the kit 10, instructions and information 30, and methods of the present invention to assist in minimizing additional loss of life. Prioritized action items (see FIG. 5) and other instructional casualty treatment information 30 (see FIGS. 6-7) can be used to guide and direct able-bodied survivors having no emergency medical training in the proper steps and procedures to help their fellow victims.
The first step may comprise lockdown procedures where if no immediate escape is available (or casualties are not mobile) the room or immediate area may be secured or otherwise fortified. If the emergency situation is an earthquake, as an example, such steps may include the structural fortification of the room or structure where the survivors and casualties are located. If the emergency situation is a school shooting, as another example, such steps may include the barricading of doors and windows to which a shooter may have access and thereby pose a continued threat.
Once the immediate area has sufficiently been secured for the given situation, the method steps of the present invention then instruct survivors to address any casualties with bleeding injuries. Exsanguination is one of the primary causes for loss of life in many emergency situations and therefore it must be quickly brought under control by following the appropriate instructional casualty treatment information 30 (see FIG. 6) within the kits 10 for the specific bleeding injury suffered by the one or more casualties. The emergency medical supplies 15 within the kit 10 may be used in conjunction with the teachings of the instructional casualty treatment information 30 by an able-bodied, untrained survivor to render medical assistance to one or more casualties.
After bleeding issues having been addressed, the third step of the method of the present invention comprises remedying any airway issues present among the casualties. Again, second only to bleeding issues, compromised airways must also be immediately addressed to prevent increased mortality rates during the emergency situation. The instructional casualty treatment information 30 within the kits 10 may provide the proper steps to sweep and clear patient airways, perform CPR, and the like.
Once bleeding and airway issues have been sufficiently resolved, casualties may then be placed in a recovery position, reassured, and continually reassessed until experienced emergency medical assistance is available. The instructional casualty treatment information 30 within the kits 10 may provide the proper steps for placing a casualty in a safe recovery position (see FIG. 7).
In accordance with the method steps of the present invention and after all casualties have been sufficiently attended to, the kit 10 may provide one or more casualty placards 50 that may be placed in a window or otherwise positioned to be seen by emergency response teams present or soon-to-be arriving at the emergency site. The plurality of casualty placards 50 quickly and easily communicates casualty information to emergency response teams allowing such teams to incorporate the casualty information into their rescue plan or threat assessment strategy, depending on the specific nature of the emergency situation. In events such as earthquakes, the plurality of casualty placards 50 may notify emergency response teams where the most critically injured casualties are located to assist in minimizing further loss of life after the natural disaster has subsided. In events such as school shootings, the plurality of casualty placards 50 may notify emergency response teams where the most critically injured casualties are and may further indicate a general location where a violent perpetrator or other continued threat may exist due to the known locations of the deceased victims and the most critically injured casualties. The plurality of casualty placards 50 may be used to update the medical status of casualties in a specific room or section of a facility to allow emergency response teams to re-prioritize their rescue strategy if casualty location and status is determinative.
While many facilities are adequately protected from less likely threats such as fire, the system and methods of the present invention provide materials and prioritized method steps to help emergency situation survivors mitigate and minimize casualty mortality immediately following any number of emergency situations. The application and use of the present invention will save many lives that may have otherwise perished during a catastrophic event or emergency situation.
While the above description contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of any embodiment, but as exemplifications of the presently preferred embodiments thereof Many other ramifications and variations are possible within the teachings of the various embodiments.
Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, and not by the examples given.