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New standards for emergency first aid

New standards for first aid provision to reflect emergency needs after stabbings and terror attacks have been unveiled by St John Ambulance. Businesses are asked to consider installing Public Access Trauma (PAcT) First Aid Kits in places such as venues, football stadiums and railway stations. Kits include military-grade wound dressings, tourniquets, and written and visual instructions about how to use them.

St John Ambulance’s Medical Director, Dr Lynn Thomas said: “The launch of these standards is an important step forward on a path towards saving more lives. Whilst they are not mandatory, the long-term aim is for PAcT First Aid kits to become as commonplace and widely accepted as public access defibrillators.”

Very much influenced by the Manchester Arena suicide bombing of May 22, 2017 and the year-long Inquiry that began in mid-2020, the work is by St John Ambulance and citizenAID, working alongside the UK official National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO).

A PAcT First Aid Kit should contain as a minimum in a clearly marked green box or bag:

Personal Protective Equipment (two sets of PPE, made up of disposable gloves [x 4 pairs], disposable glasses, disposable face mask)
Tuff cut scissors x 2
Large trauma wound dressing x 4
Woven triangular bandage x 2
Tourniquet x 2
CPR face shield x 2
Indelible marker pen x 2
PAcT First Aid Kit aide memoire (guidance – including text and imagery – from St John Ambulance and citizenAID), as freely available online.


The Arena Inquiry has heard that Manchester Victoria railway station next to the Arena (pictured) had four trauma bags; fully used. The station did not have stretchers and hoardings, barriers and resin sofas were used as a makeshift stretchers to move some of the critically injured.

The Security Industry Authority that regulates contract security guards and pub door staff this year has brought in a requirement for extra training for those taking training so as to apply for the SIA licence; and, for the first time since the SIA began in the mid-2000s, the Authority is requiring (despite some expressed opposition from the industry) that those already with badges take top-up training so as to renew their badge, notably including a one-day emergency first aid at work course.


citizenAID chairman Andrew Thurgood said: “The launch of PAcT Kits adds another important layer of resilience to the public who may need to act swiftly to save a life before the 999 services arrive.

“Through its free app, citizenAID has promoted a suite of simple life saving actions to stop bleeding and by having access to Public Access Trauma (PAcT) First Aid Kits means that the public’s capability to respond effectively to these situations is further enhanced. We are so pleased to have worked collaboratively with multiple partners to achieve this landmark position, Public Access Trauma (PAcT) First Aid Kits will undoubtedly save lives.”

From September, St John has started giving extra training in treating catastrophic haemorrhage (severe bleeding), during its First Aid at Work courses. St John has bought 9,000 Tourni-Keys and action cards for the charity’s volunteers. Tourniquets stop life-threatening limb bleeding and the Tourni-Key is a device that turns a strip of clothing into an improvised tourniquet, as designed by citizenAID.

UK Government and devolved administrations, the police, NHS, other medical bodies – such as The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care – and charities have been involved in the development and approval of the new standards, the first of their kind in the UK.

National Co-ordinator for Protect and Prepare at Counter Terrorism Policing, Detective Chief Supt Michael Orchard, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of how simple first aid, with appropriate equipment, can improve a person’s chances of survival in a whole range of scenarios. It is hoped that the new standards for PAcT First Aid Kits will assist when people suffer the most serious of injuries. This is particularly relevant in the event of a live or ongoing terrorist incident, when first aid may need to be administered by the public until first responders are able to reach any casualties.”


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