RCSEd voices support for citizenAID

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29 Nov 2016

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has given its backing to a new app that aims to help save lives before emergency services arrive to give help.

citizenAID provides advice on what to do on discovering a suspect bomb and the immediate actions to take after a bomb has exploded. Simple steps to organise the scene and pass the right information to the emergency services will improve bystander safety and ensure that those most in need are treated first.

The initiative has been developed by military and civilian clinicians in the UK who have deep experience of treating blast and gunshot injuries, and who have developed systems in use nationally and internationally to treat multiple casualties in both civilian and military environments.

Launching on 1 January 2017, the free app is suitable for all smart phones and provides clear and simple actions informing the general public on immediate actions in a shooting, stabbing or bomb incident and how to give life-saving first aid to the injured. Free familiarisation training is to be available online and a printed pocket guide will also be available.

In the event of a multiple casualty incident, such as a terrorist shooting or bombing, avoidable deaths can occur very quickly, particularly from bleeding. Military experience from treating casualties in conflict has shown how vital immediate action in these circumstances can be.

Mr Michael Lavelle-Jones, President of the College said: "As a College dedicated to delivering high standards of patient safety, we welcome the launch of CitizenAID today. In the aftermath of any event leading to casualties, the general public will inevitably be first at the scene. The application of knowledge and simple skills in the critical period immediately after injury can make the difference between life and death. The CitizenAID initiative, which informs the public on the appropriate course of action under these circumstances, gets the full support of this College."

citizenAID has been launched this week to coincide with the National Counter Terrorism Awareness Week. The Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), Chief Inspector Richard Harding, commented:

"CitizenAID complements our ongoing work to advise the public on how to maximise their chances of surviving a terrorist attack.

“Experience tells us that when people are provided with straightforward information on how to plan, prepare and react to an incident, it results in more effective decision making and improves the likelihood of positive outcomes should the worst happen.

“This is why, following the attacks in Paris 12 months ago, we published our Run, Hide, Tell message, which is available to view online.

By providing guidance on how to manage traumatic injuries, CitizenAID will take this on to the next stage – helping people to help themselves and others, save lives and ultimately thwart the aims of the terrorists."

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts, Medical Director of the Defence Medical Services and co-author of citizenAID said:

“citizenAID takes recent military experience to create a simple system that is accessible to the general public to use in the first minutes when there are multiple casualties from a shooting, stabbing or a bomb. We know that by having the knowledge and skills at the point of injury we can prevent avoidable deaths.”

Sir Keith Porter, Professor of Clinical Traumatology at University Hospital Birmingham and co-author of citizenAID added:

“The greatest threat to a patient after serious injury is time. When there is a shooting or stabbing incident the first priority for the emergency services is public safety. This means access to the injured may be delayed. citizenAID empowers the public in these difficult situations to help themselves, their family and friends, and the wider community, while waiting for the emergency services. It provides the public with information to encourage immediate action that can genuinely save lives.”

Information on the citizenAID initiative is available now at citizenaid.org. The first edition of the free public app will be released by 1 January 2017, together with the printed pocket guide. Updates on the freely available resources will be announced on Twitter (@Thecitizenaid) and on Facebook (The citizen aid).

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