Color Coded Care

NEWPORT CITY – Treating children just got easier for Newport Ambulance Service (NAS) and Northern Emergency Medical Services (NEMS).The ambulance services, following a number of serious pediatric cases in the region, changed the way they respond to calls involving children. Last month, both ambulance services color-coded each backboard they own. The colors correspond to which medical bag to use on a child.“Once the child is on the backboard, it instantly gives us the size of the child,” explained Jay Wood, division manager for NAS. This tells the emergency responders which size of equipment to use on a child, which makes treatment easier and faster.As a national average, emergency services respond to child cases about 10 percent of the time; serious cases are less than that. Other area emergency services use the color-coding system, known by some in the industry simply as Broselow tape, but NAS is a leader in going one-step further and color-coding the backboards. The system helps the emergency responders communicate with the hospital, said Wood. “They use the exact same system that we do now with the tape.”Color-coding also gives the hospital a heads up on what equipment to get ready.NAS has spread the word about the system to other emergency services in the state. Wood feels other ambulance services could replicate the system with little cost.“This was all done very inexpensively, using equipment we had on hand,” said Wood. “The kits we got were given to us by our NEMS Division. It’s really going to make a difference on our serious cases.”