Finally, as long as what you attempt is in good faith, with the intention to help, there really is no reason to be scared to help
CPR First Aid Training has a course suitable for your needs, whether First Aid at Work, for the full qualification or Basic Life support skills, we want you to have the confidence to act in an emergency – Book here
As soon as you’re aware of an acid attack taking place, shout for help and get someone to call 999 and explain what has happened, put the phone of speaker phone, so you can talk directly to the ambulance service.
Protect yourself from acid attacks
Make sure there is no continuing risk of attack and the assailant has either been immobilised or has left the scene.
But you must be sure that you’re not at risk, before attempting to administer first aid, additional casualties are not helpful.
Put on gloves
Every first aid box will have some form of protective gloves so make sure you use them.
Check the floor and adjacent surfaces for chemical spills before you kneel down.
Take immediate and appropriate action following acid attacks to remove the contamination.
If the chemical is a powder brush it gently off the skin before washing. Watch out for airborne particles.
Never wipe or rub the area.
Carefully cut away all clothing from the area, shears are usually in the first aid box.
Never pull T-shirts over the head, because chemical may get into the eyes.
Make sure not to pull any clothing stuck to the skin, cut away all contaminated clothing, with the shears.
Immediately after acid attacks start flushing the whole area with copious amounts of clean water and continue to do so for 20 minutes.
Rinsing within 1 minute of the event will reduce complications.
This makes the difference to the, pain, suffering, scarring and long-term recovery of the casualty.
Continue flushing for a further 15 to 20 minutes, if it’s still burning.
The best sources of water are a tap, hose or shower, drinking water bottles are insufficient for more than initial flushing, but several water cooler bottles can be used.
David Ward, President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said:
“BAPRAS surgeons specialising in burns and trauma have seen first-hand the devastating impact on patients admitted to A&E after vicious corrosive substance attacks. They cause severe pain, scarring which can be life-long, and can damage the sight, sometimes leading to blindness. Unfortunately these vindictive attacks are on the increase.
“The minutes after an acid attack are critical for helping a victim. This guidance BAPRAS has published with NHS England gives the important, urgent steps a victim or witness can take to help reduce the immediate pain and damage, and long-term injuries.”
First of all, check to see if they’re responsive and breathing. Gently tap on their shoulders, try to get a response. Then listen and feel for breath on your cheek and look for the rise and fall of their chest, check they’re breathing normally.
Secondly, begin CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation), immediately you know the person isn’t breathing, call the ambulance service and start chest compressions. Start with 30 and then give 2 rescue breaths and continue repeating this.
Importantly, don’t worry about hurting them, the person lying on the floor in front of you, is technically dead.
You can only improve their survival rate.
By investing in an AED it keeps our communities safe, but make sure everyone knows where they’re kept.
Allergies and anaphylaxis can be great cause of concern in the hospitality industry.
Talking to the manager of an expensive and exclusive restaurant recently, he related a story that nearly ended in catastrophe.
Jenny, the wife of a customer who has known allergies had phoned to book a table for his 50th birthday.
She explained, “I’m really worried, it’s my husband John’s birthday celebration, but he has serious allergies to peppers, nuts and celery, so I need to know what items on the menu, he should avoid.”
Although the restaurant menu had explicit descriptions of allergens, the manager decided the safest plan was to let the customer talk to the chef.
After a careful discussion of her requirements they agreed an adapted menu would be provided on the day. Satisfied with the outcome the table was booked for the 4 guests, to Jenny’s delight.
The day arrived, and as promised chef greeted the group in the bar, where he delivered his specially created menu, quickly followed by the sommelier with the wine list.
Orders placed, the group went through to their table and began their meal.
The sommelier arrived shortly after with their selected wine, and everyone was chatting and enjoying the evening.
“Help me?” was the next thing anybody heard. John stood up having difficulty to breathe, his mouth and tongue swelling and his eyes red and itching.
Fortunately, his wife immediately identified what was happening. John was having a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and she got him to lay down on the floor, before he collapsed.
What to do
“Someone dial 999 to call an ambulance, and tell them John’s having an anaphylactic reaction”, she shouted.
She started searching John’s pockets for the adrenaline auto injector he always carries.
Auto injectors come in several brands such as Epipen or Jext.
Using them is basically the same, remove the cap and punch the needle end hard into the top of the thigh, straight through the clothing. It’s important to hold it in place for ten seconds and then massage the area for a further ten seconds.
The ambulance crew arrived shortly after and took over John’s care. If he hadn’t responded to the adrenaline, Jenny may have needed to give a second dose with another injector, often carried by the patient too, or if he’d stopped breathing start CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation).
After John had been despatched to hospital, the restaurant started to investigate. How after so much care with the menu could this happen? What had they inadvertently served, that had caused such a severe allergic reaction?
Subsequent tests for John, revealed he had an undiagnosed allergy to sulphites in the red wine he’d been drinking.
If you work in the hospitality industry or have relatives and friends with allergies.
You really should consider one of our training courses, either general CPR life saving skills or Anaphylaxis Management.
Ambulance response times are at their most challenging during winter months.
More and more people have accidents or are taken ill, and as a result you may have to wait longer.
Emergency departments are also under great pressure too, and this in turn delays ambulances getting back on the road.
That’s why you should be extra sure that you really need them before you call 999/112.
Always carefully check the person’s condition, are they breathing, are they responding?
If someone’s collapsed, don’t automatically phone for help, they may be asleep, fainted or under the influence and not need the ambulance service.
What to do
Have a good look around, see if there’s any obvious reason they’re there.
Is there an electric cable nearby or a toppled chair, these are pretty good indicators of what might have happened.
Is it safe to approach them, if there’s a cable don’t touch them, until you’re sure the power has been disconnected and it’s safe to do so.
Approach from their feet, checking there’s no immediate danger to you.
Try to get a response from them, by asking loudly, “can you hear me”, and shaking their foot or shoulders.
If they don’t react, shout for help, then make sure they’re on their back and start checking them over.
Check they’re breathing
It’s important to open the casualty’s airway, making sure they can breathe.
Open their mouth and look for any obstruction, with one hand press firmly down on their forehead, at the same time using two fingers under their chin lift the head backwards, allowing their mouth to open, this will ensure they have a clear airway.
Next place the side of your face close to their mouth, so that you’re looking down their chest.
Watch for the rise and fall of the chest, listen for the sound of breathing and feel for breath on your cheek, do this for about 10 seconds allowing enough time for 2 normal breaths.