The region’s first publicly accessible bleed control kit has been installed in Keynsham.
The kits, which are designed to control bleeding after someone suffers a traumatic injury, are being installed within local communities across the Avon and Somerset Police force area.
The police are working with NHS England South West and defibrillator supplier HeartSafe to install 144 bleed kits across the region. They are being installed on the side of existing defibrillators and will be instantly accessible in an emergency where someone has suffered a traumatic injury.
They include trauma dressings and tourniquets to help manage bleeds as well as nitrile gloves, scissors, and a colour-coded instruction guide on what to use depending on where and what type of injury the person is suffering from.
People should always call 999 and ask for the ambulance service in a life-threatening emergency, but these kits are designed to be easy-to-use in the moments immediately after a medical emergency to help the injured person until an ambulance or first-responder arrives on scene.
Avon & Somerset Police’s Knife Crime Lead, Chief Inspector Mike Vass, said: “We know we cannot police our way out of serious violence, it has to be a partnership approach, not just between us and our partners in health and social care, but also with members of our communities who can play a key part in helping us.
“We employ a number of different tactics to deal with knife crime and prevent it at the source but in the unfortunate event that a person is seriously injured, we hope that these kits will go some way to preventing tragic loss of life.”
The project was first initiated by Clive Setter from HeartSafe following their successful work in installing public defibrillators across the UK. Clive said: “I am pleased to announce another public safety initiative for HeartSafe, now partnering with Avon & Somerset Police assisting people suffering major blood loss wounds to receive immediate help from members of the community around them.
“The bleed kits will provide some initial emergency aid to those in need before an ambulance arrives at the incident and will help to avoid a potentially tragic outcome.”
Whilst this partnership initiative is part of the force’s work around serious violence and knife crime, the bleed control kits are there to be used in any incident in which a person is suffering from a catastrophic bleed, whether it be a road traffic collision, fall, or other traumatic injury.
Dr Michael Marsh, NHS England’s South West medical director, said: “NHS ambulance crews and trauma teams do a great job when confronted with a patient who’s losing a lot of blood, but we wanted to go further in those crucial minutes when an ambulance was still on its way. That’s why we’re so pleased to fund bleed kits, so the police and community partners can get them to the right places to save lives – many of them young.”
The installation complements work carried out by the police service to tackle knife crime, with over 4,000 weapons being surrendered into knife surrender bins installed to encourage young people to safely discard of their weapons.
Work with local Violence Reduction Partnerships (VRPs) is also engaging young people and children in early intervention and diversion projects, to prevent knife carrying, as well as other types of crime and harm.
The VRPs are a multi-agency partnership with a public health approach to reducing violence. They focus on understanding the causes and the reasons people get drawn into crime, so they can intervene early and help the young people to stay away from criminal activity.
Through this partnership, workshops have been rolled out across secondary schools in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and North Somerset to encourage young people to report if they know someone is carrying a knife. The Blunt Truth workshops are delivered to students in Year’s 8 and 9 and educate students on the dangers and consequences of carrying a weapon, and how to administer emergency first-aid in the event of a stabbing. The programme is led by the police, NHS, South Western Ambulance Service, and Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and has been delivered to over 2,800 young people since 2021.
If you are concerned about someone you know carrying a knife, you can report it to Avon and Somerset Police by calling 101 or using their online form. If there is the threat of immediate danger, or a crime is taking place, always call 999 immediately.
Alternatively, you can give information anonymously by contacting Fearless, the dedicated youth service of the independent charity Crimestoppers. You can send information to Fearless using their online form at www.fearless.org or by calling 0800 555 111.