App launched to help the public deal with the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack

9. CitizenAID slideA pioneering new app that offers the public a step-by-step guide in how to deal with the aftermath of a terrorist attack has been given the green light by the Home Office.

citizenAID is a simple, logical system of immediate actions. It is designed to guide the public to react safely, to pass effective messages to the emergency services, to prioritise the injured and to give life-saving first aid. This combination of effective organisation and immediate treatment will save lives.

The app guides members of the public through a series of logical steps giving them valuable advice on what to do during a terrorist attack and, importantly, in what order. The ultimate aim is to ensure people’s safety and that individuals at the scene are empowered and able to take control until the emergency services arrive. It has been developed by the military and clinicians working together and is supported by both the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts, Medical Director of the Defence Medical Services and co-author of the app, said, “When there is a shooting, stabbing or bomb explosion the initial priority will be public safety. This can delay the time before the emergency services are able to reach the injured. citizenAID enables the general public to be effective in these situations before the emergency services are available to provide professional medical support.”

The technology builds on tried and tested principles that have been used by individual soldiers to save lives following comparable injuries sustained in the combat setting. It transfers the knowledge and skills to the public so that they can help themselves, their families and the wider community.

It provides the public with a guide to prioritising the injured (so called ‘triage’) and how to improvise equipment for life-threatening injuries should none be available, or supplies run out, before the arrival of the emergency services.

The app complements the police’s national ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ message and adds ‘Treat’. Brigadier Hodgetts said, “A principal objective is safety, knowing for example how to react when finding a suspect device and knowing to check for secondary devices when evacuating to a safe haven. We believe it can realistically prevent avoidable deaths in mass casualty events through decisive, predetermined actions and life-saving interventions. It guides the public on how to prioritise the most seriously injured, and then how to treat each individual.”

ESTFeb 2017 FCRead more about citizenAID
in the February issue of
Emergency Services Times: