'Bleed control kits' should be as 'readily available to the public' as defibrillators are, says mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim

By Paul Britton

The mother of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing says lifesaving 'bleed control kits' should be as readily available to the public as defibrillators are.

Figen Murray's call was backed by ambulance service experts who have given evidence at the public inquiry into the atrocity this week and last.

Also known as emergency trauma packs, they contain tourniquets and haemostatic dressings alongside other equipment to potentially stop catastrophic haemorrhaging and significantly reduce a casualty's blood loss.

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Mrs Murray, who carried one in her car, said the inquiry has 'highlighted the importance of the need for bleed control kits', which she described as 'essentially lifesaving kits'.

Emergency responders, she said, could be 'late or hampered' in the event of a terror attack by the declaration of zones into which only specially trained emergency services personnel are allowed to enter.

But she said time was 'critical' for injured casualties.

A 'public access' bleed control kit (Birmingham Mail)

In a statement read out to the inquiry on her behalf, Mrs Murray said: "The Inquiry has heard that the application of such medical provisions in the first few minutes to a casualty with a significant bleed can literally mean life or death for that person.

"We know that time is critical for those casualties...to prevent them bleeding to death before emergency responders arrive, therefore these emergency kits are a way to mitigate the time lost by the late or hampered response of the emergency responders - hampered by the declaration of zones, be that from the declaration of a major incident or terrorist incident slowing the movement of emergency responders into areas where casualties lie injured and bleeding - and provide additional resources for private security personnel and civilians to use to assist in lifesaving medical interventions, such as the correct application of tourniquets, until such time that the emergency services are able to tend to the casualty."

Equally, she added, the kits would also be available to the emergency services when they reach a scene.

Mrs Murray - who has successfully campaigned for new 'Martyn's Law' counter-terror legislation - said 'anyone' could find themselves in a situation of needing to urgently help someone else, and referenced road traffic collisions and industrial accidents.

"Anybody can find that they themselves are in need of that lifesaving help," she added.

"There is not only a social responsibility but a need for both private and public companies and organisations to be prepared not only in terms of training staff and providing first aid courses, but also in ensuring that they have the adequate resources and equipment that would be needed in that critical time following an incident."

Mrs Murray said there was a 'very strong case' for the kits to be 'as readily available to the public as defibrillators are throughout town centres'.

The Arena attack claimed 22 lives (Manchester Evening News)

"Deaths through bleeding out or catastrophic bleeding could be significantly reduced if these kits were available at as many venues as possible," she went on.

"I personally carry a kit in the back of my car."

The inquiry was told the City of London Police have located kits at various 'hidden' points in the capital.

Smaller packs range in price from £20 to £78.

Mrs Murray said work was ongoing to 'evidence the need' for kits in Manchester - and revealed a number of hotels here are considering using them.

"These kits save lives, " she added.

Mrs Murray and her son, Martyn (Figen Murray)

"I will wholeheartedly support any positive move to introduce them as widely as possible.

"Yes there may be a cost to these kits, but there is no greater cost than losing a loved one.

"Any cost spent in preparedness is an investment worth making so that other families do not have to experience what my family and the families of the 21 other innocent victims have had to endure."

The evidence was presented at the Arena inquiry on Monday following a call for frontline police officers to receive enhanced first aid training to treat bomb blast and shrapnel injuries.

Two independent ambulance services experts who have written reports for the inquiry into the response of paramedics looked at one of the kits and said they believed even a 'novice' could learn how to apply a 'pressure dressing' correctly.

One of them, Michael Herriot, said members of the public did a 'fantastic job' at the scene of the bombing but were 'hampered by the status of the equipment that was available to them'.

"Many mentioned that the first aid kits were inadequate," he added.

Much-loved PR manager Martyn, 29, was from Stockport.

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