Decontamination kits for West Midlands Police

Emergency services have been equipped with specialist kits to treat victims of hazardous or corrosive substance attacks after a medical supply company tailor made them to police specifications.

West Midlands Police have just received the bespoke kits to improve the response to a victim of an incident involving hazardous materials.

The decontamination kits were tailor-made for West Midlands Police by UK medical supplier, SP Services, of Telford, Shropshire and are the first of their kind containing not just water but Personal Protective Equipment.

The SP Services business team put together a total of 320 kits carrying six 500ml bottles of water, two pairs of chemical gloves, two face masks, two pairs of safety goggles and Bottleshower, a special spray adaptor to ‘shower’ water over a victim’s skin – a more effective way of diluting a corrosive liquid.

They are also the first UK police force to have the kitbags bearing the National CBRN Centre Remove Campaign infographic. This highlights the need to remove victims from the contaminated environment, remove their outer contaminated clothing and directions on how to remove the contaminant from someone’s skin.

Sergeant Scott Howard demonstrates the Bottleshower.

Sergeant Scott Howard, of West Midlands Police, said he searched for a suitable medical equipment supplier who could create a bespoke solution. “Other forces have created in-house solutions to an acid attack for some months which includes five-litre bottles of water. Following evaluation we decided a flexible, agile and scalable kit was more suited to our needs, particularly when deployed by specialist teams where space is at a premium in vehicles,” said Scott, who is a specialist officer for CBRN attacks in the West Midlands.

“Officers will likely need to have a hand free to deal with whatever is happening in such a situation. Our bags were badged as decontamination kits as it meant they were multi-purpose for any hazardous or corrosive substance attack.

“SP Services already have an emergency burns kit so when I contacted them they said they could adapt that kit to just what we wanted.”

Paul Watts, Business Development Manager for SP Services, explained how a prototype kitbag was designed to be viewed by emergency service personnel attending a National CBRN Centre exercise near Coventry at the end of February.

Conference experts representing police, fire and rescue and ambulance chiefs reviewed the kit with enthusiasm and the head of the National CBRN Centre asked if the Remove campaign info-graphic could be displayed on the 38cm x 27cm bag, said Paul.

“It was a very quick turnaround. But we made the requested alterations, which included slightly altering the size of the bag compartments to allow for the equipment to be pulled out at speed.”

The equipment was delivered to West Midlands Police last week and dispersed the same day to officers who have already been trained to use it. “There have been a handful of such attacks in the West Midlands but there is no current trend. We want to be prepared to respond effectively if we are called upon to reduce injury to the public,” added Scott.

“The kits were deployed operationally for the first time from mid-May and formed part of the initial operational response to the royal wedding by West Midlands Police providing tactical and logistical support to Thames Valley Police.”