You may have noticed in recent years, when passing through train stations and shopping centres, that the presence of accessible defibrillators is rapidly on the increase – and for good reason! A nearby defibrillator can very literally mean the difference between life and death. The 30-day survival rate for cardiac patients who receive defibrillation prior to the arrival of a paramedic increases dramatically, and there are now mobile phone apps to direct you to your nearest AED and even schemes to house AEDs on the side of bins in public parks! But should this same approach of widespread accessibility be extended to another useful piece of kit? Namely, a bleeding control kit.
Unfortunately, the recent increase in high-profile terror attacks has brought the subject of Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs) to the forefront of public awareness, but smaller and less well-publicised MCIs such as vehicle collisions and building collapses are an ever-present danger of modern life that shouldn’t be overlooked. Much like defibrillators – bleeding control kits, trauma dressings and tourniquets are relatively inexpensive pieces of equipment that require a minimum of training in order for the public to be able to use them.
Last year, the British Red Cross found that up to 59% of pre-hospital deaths caused by injury could have been prevented by the administration of basic first-aid. According to the charity the two most important skills to learn are clearing a patient’s airway and applying pressure on a wound to prevent bleeding. Learning how to correctly apply a tourniquet, for example, is a simple skill which could serve to save countless lives in the long run especially in MCIs. The success of schemes to proliferate public AEDs outline how similar schemes for bleeding control kits could be easily and cheaply implemented.
Steve Bray, Managing Director of healthcare equipment supplier, SP Services said: ‘We believe that having a large number of publicly accessible “Bleeding Control Packs” in all major shopping centres, public transport stations, airports, trains, motorway service stations, and all public buildings is the right thing to do given the current risk from terrorism as well as everyday accidents.’