Initiative offers advice on life-saving first aid after a terrorist attack

CitizenAID provides simple advice on how to deal with injuries following a major incident.

A nurse has highlighted the importance of members of the public being able to improvise when providing care during major incidents in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.


Seven people were killed and 48 injured in an attack on Saturday night in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of the capital.

Andrew Thurgood, a consultant nurse in pre-hospital emergency medicine, is one of the founders of citizenAID, an initiative developed by UK military and clinical civilians.

The citizenAID free app, pocket book and website offer clear and simple advice on how to deal with injuries after a major incident, such as a shooting, stabbing or bombing, but before emergency services arrive.

Mr Thurgood told Radio 4’s Today programme that the principles of citizenAID support the message issued by the Metropolitan Police to the public after Saturday’s attack:

  • Run to a place of safety or
  • Hide if there’s nowhere to go
  • Tell the police by calling 999 when it is safe to do so.

Mr Thurgood said: ‘We find the first treatment to casualties can be significant in terms of time. 


‘We know that the first people who are available [to treat the injured] are members of the public. Through citizenAID, we want members of the public to have the skills to deliver care that keeps somebody alive until professionals arrive.

‘If you can’t run or get away from a situation, and you are shored up in a room [having] barricaded yourselves in, you start to look after each other, make sure nobody dies unnecessarily.’

He said the first thing to look for is if anyone has catastrophic external compressible bleeding: ‘We advocate the use of tourniquets by improvisation, using a scarf, a belt, any strip of material that can be wrapped around the limb. If the wound is less serious, pack it again with clothing or cloth.

‘You may not have medical equipment available. We promote through citizenAID that this is fine: it’s totally acceptable to improvise in these situations.

‘We certainly appreciate there’s a tremendous capability among the public to help people who are injured, whatever the circumstances.’

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