In a ‘UK first’, more than 500 life-saving emergency trauma packs (ETPs) are being distributed to public spaces right across the county.
The Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), headed by the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, has spent around £25,000 on the packs. Each red bag contains simple items such as enhanced dressings and gauzes to help preserve the life of someone who has been injured until the emergency services arrive on scene.
Project lead Chief Inspector Nick Sparkes, from Kent Police, explained:
‘Kent is a safe place to live, work and visit but sometimes accidents happen, and unfortunately sometimes serious crime happens in our communities. In those rare instances, these easy-to-use packs are designed to empower members of the public, businesses and first responders to prevent potentially fatal blood loss until the emergency services arrive and take over.
‘Every police officer, PCSO, Special Constable and Police Cadet is trained to use ETPs, and our partner services are briefed on them.’
The packs have been handed out among the county’s Community Safety Partnerships for them to distribute to businesses and other locations. Distinctive red signs will let passers-by know that an ETP is available on site. Each kit contains easy-to-follow instructions, and a series of short videos has been produced to raise awareness of how to use the contents.
Laurel Niven, from Ashford Borough Council which began distributing 31 small kits and four large ones to key venues on Monday, said:
‘This is a great collective opportunity to bring partners together to help make the town centre a safer place, as well as supporting the night time economy. The businesses are supportive of the initiative and will continue to work closely with the Community Safety Unit, Kent Police, and the Ashford Partnership Against Crime organisation.’
Police officers in Kent have been carrying ETPs in their vehicles for some time, and the scheme has been recognised nationally by the College of Policing.
Ch/Insp Sparkes believes the VRU’s decision to now invest in a countywide community-based roll-out is a first in the UK.
‘Our intention is for these ETPs to become as commonplace and socially-acceptable as defibrillators. The contents of each pack has a shelf-life of five years and of course we hope they will never be needed, but they could be a valuable life-saving community resource should the worst happen. We want the community to have these tried and tested kits to make the difference and know what to do to save a life in those critical minutes before trained help arrives.’
The VRU was created last year using money allocated to Kent from the Government.
The primary objective of the VRU is to bring the various partner agencies from across Kent and Medway together to prevent crime and keep people safe. As well as funding these trauma packs, money is being spent on things like workshops in schools, work in prisons to reduce re-offending, support interventions for families and young people, and a scheme which helps young people in police custody identified as at risk of exploitation.
Watch these short videos to learn how to use the contents of an ETP