A public access trauma first aid kit, also referred to as a PAcT First Aid Kit is a first aid kit which supports the treatment of immediate, life-threatening injuries such as major bleeding and those who are unresponsive with absent or abnormal breathing.
PAcT First Aid Kits are designed to be used by anyone, regardless of their level of first aid training, and supports the first aid efforts until the emergency services arrive. They are to be located in publicly accessible locations and areas which people can easily access, Clearly, the PAcT First Aid Kit can also be used by an injured person who is able to treat themselves.
Further separate guidance on Counter Terrorism Organisational First Aid Preparedness is available and should be read in conjunction with this guidance.
Background to PAcT First Aid Kits
All public and private sector organisations are encouraged to include PAcT First Aid Kits within the first aid provisions they have in place. They are an additional lifesaving resource which improves an organisation’s first aid resilience.
A PAcT First Aid Kit contains items that support the treatment of those with major bleeding (sometimes referred to as catastrophic bleeds, which can be as a result of a severed limb, an open wound and where there is substantial blood loss) in addition to those who are unresponsive with absent or abnormal breathing.
Every person should be aware of the location of a PAcT First Aid Kit, whether this is a member of the public visiting a shopping centre, or the owner of a small business who has a PAcT First Aid Kit as part of their first aid provision.
PAcT First Aid Kits should be commonplace across the UK
Aside from bridging the gap until the emergency services arrive, PAcT First Aid Kits are recognised by all the emergency services, police, ambulance and fire service, across the whole country, which means PAcT First Aid Kits will form part of their first aid response planning too.
While the background to developing this work stems from the casualties of a terrorist related attack, PAcT First Aid Kits can be used to support any incident where there is an immediate life-threatening injury, not just a terrorist incident.
Standards: the requirements of PAcT First Aid Kits
Counter Terrorism Policing, working with St John Ambulance, citizenAID and the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care have introduced standards which set out the requirements of a PAcT First Aid Kit.
These standards have undergone a rigorous assurance process that has taken into consideration the expert views of various lead government departments and medical organisations/professionals. They serve to promote consistency, and reduce ambiguity on the level of first aid provision located in public places, for any person, and which supports the administration of immediate lifesaving first aid.
The PAcT First Aid Kit standards are relevant, fit for purpose and have a clear aim of improving the survivability of a person with life threatening injuries.
The standards are relevant for all organisations, regardless of their size, location and type.
Organisations who may have similar first aid kits in place are advised to review these, so they meet the requirements of the standards.
Three guiding principles of a Public Access Trauma First Aid Kit
Storage and accessibility
A PAcT First Aid Kit should be in a sealed GREEN pack which is clearly labelled Public Access Trauma First Aid Kit with a white cross on a green background.
An assessment should be carried out which determines the best holdall for the first aid kit. A small bag or hard plastic box if you’re in a small shop, or if you work in a large premises which spans several floors, you may prefer to use a bag with shoulder straps so it can be easily moved between areas.
The PAcT First Aid Kit should be mounted on a wall or in a cabinet so it is visible and easy to access by anyone. However, consider how accessible the kit would be for a person with a leg injury who might require the kit to treat themselves.
As with any other publicly accessible equipment, the kits should be reviewed and items replaced if they are damaged or expire. This will ensure the integrity of the kit and reduce the impact of crime or vandalism.
Consider the use of tamper proof seals, similar to those used on fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.
However, the security of the kit must not prevent the accessibility and use of the kit when required in an emergency.
What is in a PAcT First Aid Kit?
The PAcT First Aid Kit standards set out the minimum contents that should be available in your first aid kit. Additional items of the listed content can also be added.
Organisations should carry out an assessment to determine if additional content is required. However, prior to including additional content within the PAcT First Aid Kits, organisations should consider their weight and size. Especially as a bulky item would be heavy and hard to move.
We recommend a minimum of at least two PAcT First Aid Kits located within a premises. It would be expected that those organisations with larger premises, and those hosting more staff, visitors and guests, would have more content within each kit and will have several PAcT First Aid Kits located across their premises.
For example, a smaller premises with one main entrance may only have the recommended minimum number (two) of PAcT First Aid Kits, most likely located in their reception area and another PAcT located in a separate part of the premises. However, a large sports venue may have kits in many different locations across their premises. The assessment process will be able to determine the right level of coverage.
At a minimum, the standards set out the contents of a PAcT First Aid Kit to treat two casualties and must include:
|1||Personal protective equipment|
Disposable gloves (x4 pairs), disposable glasses, disposable face mask
|2||Tuff cut scissors||2|
|3||Large trauma wound dressing||4|
|4||Woven triangular bandage||2|
|6||CPR face shield||2|
|7||Indelible marker pen||2|
|8||PAcT First Aid Kit Aid memoire||2|
Where should a PAcT First Aid Kit be located?
To meet the requirements of the standards, a PAcT First Aid Kit must be located in Publicly Accessible Locations* and at most, within a few minutes walk from the next available PAcT First Aid Kit.
An assessment process will help determine the best location and takes into account the effectiveness of moving the kit from these locations, the safety of the individual moving the kit and the time it may take to move the kit to where it is required.
Consider areas where the public may go within the premises.
*There is an exception to the rule of publicly accessible locations. Whilst PAcT First Aid Kits must be located in areas to which the public have access, we strongly encourage organisations to consider areas which are not publicly accessible, yet may be a place the public go to in an emergency. Either to seek refuge or in the search for help. Locating a PAcT First Aid Kit in these areas, such as after a security check area (employee/visitor), staff rooms, security control rooms and first aid rooms will go that additional step to ensuring immediate lifesaving first aid provisions are available.
The location of the PAcT First Aid Kit should be shared with neighbouring organisations and the local emergency services, so that everyone is aware of its location.
Training and awareness
One of the three key principles for the PAcT First Aid Kits is for any person to be able to use them, regardless of the level of first aid training they may have.
While a basic level of first aid training would be advantageous, the contents are such that they should be straight forward to interpret their use.
By way of a prompt, an illustrated PAcT First Aid Kit Aid memoire must be included with the kits.
Appropriate awareness of the PAcT First Aid Kit and their location should be shared with all individuals within the premises. This includes employees, contractors, and visitors. Consider placing signage informing the location of the kits.
Cost, procurement and availability
As a lifesaving piece of equipment, cost should not be a barrier in determining the right level of investment in this product.
The standards for the PAcT First Aid Kits make it clear that only the listed items should be included within the kits.
St John Ambulance, who we have worked with NaCTSO to develop these standards, sell these kits on their website.
Purchasing a readymade kit may well be the most suitable option for some organisations, but there is no reason why an organisation cannot ‘self-assemble’ their own PAcT First Aid Kits, and provided they follow this guidance, they will meet the requirements of the standards.
Suggested locations for the PAcT First Aid Kits
An assessment process will help determine the best location for the PAcT First Aid Kits. An example of the types of locations are illustrated in the table below.
Further information on providing first aid can be found at the following websites:
National Counter Terrorism Security Office - Information and guidance on counter terrorism protective security and preparedness, which includes CT first aid.
St John Ambulance – Accredited first aid training and suppliers of first aid products.
citizenAID - Free information on how to stay safe and treat casualties before the 999 services arrive. Suppliers of first aid products.
Faculty of Pre Hospital Care – Information on pre hospital clinical standards.
Resuscitation Council UK – Information on CPR and defibrillators.
Health & Safety Executive – Guidance for employers on first aid.