Acid attacks

Blurred ambulance

There has recently been a rise is acid attacks, which are often organised by criminal gangs. There has been no threat from any specific group or groups against the emergency services, but we will be called to deal with the aftermath and may not know the perpetrators whereabouts.

Please familiarise yourselves with the principles of initial operational response (IOR) to chemical incidents and remain vigilant using the STEPS 123 + protocol covered in PU last year, follow the link for a refresher.

Your safety is paramount and the scene should be assessed initially, then a METHANE report must be sent to EOC using priority request speech. As a reminder, you can use JESIP within the trust app or follow the link. A safe RVP should be established upwind and where possible, uphill. A commander will be sent to assist you and manage the scene along with HART.

The initial approach to patient care should be to remove the outer layer of clothing. The exception to this would be if the clothing is adhered to the skin. However, this should not be done over the head. Take great care not to contaminate yourself or spread any chemical, remember your PPE is not “acid proof” but will shield you from water/body fluid splashing.

For caustic/corrosive substances IOR is only the start, the incident must be passed to the incident command desk, who will then escalate to the resilience team for specialist advice and response. Emergency decontamination must be started as soon as possible in line with IOR and JRCALC using bottled or tap water. Colleagues from the Fire service will be able to assist in providing the high volume of water that will be required. They can apply water to the burnt area by fire hoses making a shower if necessary.

The EEAST resilience team alongside Fire and Police colleagues will be able to inform the ambulance incident commander, crews and the hospital what the substance is. There may be more specific treatments available other than irrigation that will help with the on-going care of the patient.

Please remain vigilant, stay safe, seek help but begin treatment as soon as possible to minimise the effects of the burning process.

Published 25th May, 2017

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