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Specialist Roles


                               Natural Disasters & Health is a live role-playing                      adventure, immersing students in simulated natural disasters, the health risks that result and how they can avoid them.


   Student emergency teams coordinate disaster responses, triage victims, apply knowledge of body systems to apply first aid and extended care in a virtual emergency room.

   Each team includes 3 specialist groups (2 people each) with different critical roles needed to treat injured people: DAC, TR & ER.

DAC or Disaster Assessment Coordinator





                    DAC specialists at Disaster Relief Team HQ  (image from CDC)

   The Disaster Assessment Coordinator (DAC) oversees the transportation, treatment and disaster conditions during the mission. DAC Specialists work at the headquarters of the Disaster Relief Team to coordinate activities of Triage (TR) and Emergency Room (ER) specialists to best serve people injured by a disaster. DAC receive alerts from scientific experts and safety officials to identify triage locations where injured people need to be examined and receive first aid. DAC specialists receive information from the USGS, NASA, NOAA* and local observers of changes of the disaster – another eruption for a volcano, rising flood water, aftershocks, etc. – and warn the TR team, and if needed, direct them to a safer area to continue work or where more injured people wait for help.

   DAC Specialists also decide, based on each patient’s immediate need for hospital care, whether an ambulance or helicopter should transport the patient from the disaster site to the hospital.


   DAC Specialists compile a wall chart from information sent by TR and ER specialists showing the type of injury and treatment of each victim of the disaster. Every 30 minutes, DAC Specialists compile and submit a summary of this information - a Public Health Report – to the Chief Medical Officer and to TR and ER so they can stay aware of the disaster treatment progress.


*USGS = US Geological Survey provides data about earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administra-tion provides images from space for all disasters.  NOAA = National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration uses space, ship and aircraft information about weather phenomena such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes.


TR or Triage Specialists






    TR specialists examining injured person at disaster site (Image from

   Triage Specialists (TR) are emergency medical technicians who search at a disaster site for injured people, assess (or triage) how seriously they are hurt, apply first aid, and determine how quickly they need medical care. TR Specialists select which people to examine, look for visual signs of injury (bleeding, lacerations, bones visible) and then determine patient vital signs - breathing, pulse and their temperature. TR Specialists immediately treat life-threatening conditions – such as severe bleeding – to keep patients alive to reach a hospital for more advanced treatment. TR also treats minor medical issues such as cleaning lacerations/cuts, setting broken bones and helping to improve breathing. TR records the injured person's condition on a Triage Tag, summarizes a victim’s treatment need by determining a triage color wrist band based on the seriousness of each injury, submits the Triage Tag information on patient condition to DAC, and then selects the next patient.


   TR Specialists also inform DAC of changing disaster con-ditions that they witness and they must be prepared to relocate to less dangerous locations as needed.


ER or Emergency Room Specialists





ER Specialists operate in hospitals to provide the highest level of treatment. (Image from Hamilton Hospital, IL)


   ER Specialists (ER) are doctors who are trained to treat patients harmed by traumatic experiences. ER selects patients from the waiting room who were seen and provided first aid by TR Specialists at the disaster site. The ER specialists conduct detailed examinations, diagnose patient injuries, order x-rays and other medical tests to confirm their diagnosis, and decide on surgery or other treatment to return patients to a healthy life. ER Specialists are the last hope to save lives of severely injured disaster victims. Based on a patient’s condition after treatment, ER Specialists decide if the patient is admitted to the hospital for more care, or can be released for out-patient care.




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Several people working in front of computers in a room with tables and computers
two emergency medical technicians examine a woman lying on the grass
three medical specialists examine a patient lying on a gurney in an ER room
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