Stop the bleed – how better access to bleed kits can help emergency responders save more lives

The UK Government has released data highlighting that over 41,000 knife crime offences occurred in 2020-21, of which 224 were homicides1. A penetrating injury from a knife can often lead to major bleeding, with haemorrhage being cited as the leading cause of death following a stabbing. This statistic emphasises the need for the public to have better access to life-saving equipment like bleed kits – and training on how to use them.

In a recent survey of UK emergency medical, fire and police services, commissioned by Safeguard Medical, 87% of respondents agreed that if the public were more aware of the immediate care required following major trauma, preventable deaths would decrease2.

While the UK is lucky enough to have a workforce of highly skilled emergency responders ready to react to incidents where catastrophic bleeds have occurred, they may not reach the scene within the first few minutes – a time window that is crucial to saving lives.

Time critical

Professor Richard Lyon MBE, Chief Medical Officer at Safeguard Medical and a practising NHS Consultant in Emergency Medicine & Pre-hospital Care, said, “Even with an air ambulance travelling in a straight line at over 130mph to an incident, patients can bleed out in under five minutes in some circumstances. Minutes are critical when you are bleeding. Tourniquets, haemostatic gauze and trauma bandages in bleed kits give the public the chance to intervene and save a life. Our rapid response teams can then focus on keeping the patient stable and preparing them for medical intervention once at the hospital.”

In the UK, a solution is already in place that could allow for safe storage, and easy access, to bleed kits by the general public or business owners. Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) are present in many locations, including train stations, local businesses and community centres across the UK.

Lifesaving equipment

The majority of first responders (85%) believe that more lives could be saved with the introduction of bleeding control kits, placed alongside every public access defibrillator.

But as well as being able to access bleed kits, it’s also crucial that more people are aware of how to use them. Bleed kits contain lifesaving equipment, including tourniquets to stop major bleeding and haemostatic bandages that can be ‘packed’ into a wound to stop haemorrhaging. More people must understand how and when to use this equipment, to stop bleeding for long enough for medical professionals to arrive.

Prometheus Medical, the elite medical training arm of Safeguard Medical, is offering 500 places on free bleed control training sessions to the public and business owners across the UK. From November 2021 to February 2022, the public will be able to sign up for these sessions and learn from an expert coach the vital skills needed to stop a catastrophic bleed.

Improved public awareness

These training sessions aim to spread better public awareness of the importance of immediate trauma response, but also to try and support the UK’s hard-working emergency service professionals. During the COVID pandemic, emergency responders reported increased pressures, with 95% agreeing they have responded to an increased number of trauma incidents. Emergency responders are also dealing with the mental health impact of witnessing and experiencing trauma, with 94% agreeing that their mental health had suffered because of the increased pressures placed on the emergency medical services during the pandemic.

Safeguard Medical believes that if the public were better prepared to deal with medical and trauma emergencies, this immediate support could help reduce mental health pressure on emergency medical responders, while also directly saving lives.

To find out more about Safeguard Medical’s products and its mission to empower responders at every level to save more lives, please visit the website.



2. Research conducted by 3GEM on behalf of Safeguard Medical with 500 emergency responders in the UK