ProtectUK publication date
Communications resources around REMOVE, REMOVE, REMOVE


Toolkit Contents

  • Overarching Narrative

  • How to use the toolkit

  • Audiences

  • Key Messaging

  • Suggested media release

  • Suggested social media copy

  • Content and resources

Overarching Narrative

Public messaging, developed with behavioral scientists involved in the expert panel, was introduced to the emergency services in 2017. Referred to in this document as ‘REMOVE’, it forms part of standard operating procedures for first responders, commanders and call handlers. It is also used within the protective security sector in anticipation that security staff may be best-placed to deliver initial first aid. 

The REMOVE principles provide essential safety and first aid guidance for those who may have been harmed by exposure to a hazardous substance. It can be used following a suspected deliberate or accidental exposure to a hazardous substance (vapor, powder or liquid), including an ‘acid attack’. 

Branded as a multi-agency product, the messaging is designed to create a consistent self-help message across the initial response and beyond. It is endorsed by Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency - UKHSA), the emergency services and relevant government departments. It is also included in NHS England guidance for dealing with casualties from this type of event.

The purpose of communications assets are:

  1. Provide REMOVE advice reflecting CBRN communications best practice to ensure the public know how immediately protect themselves and others in the event of exposure to a hazardous substance

  2. Ensure the advice can be deployed, scaled and adapted by all agencies dependent upon the level and nature of the threat, in line with CT protocols.

How to use the Toolkit

The toolkit assets are for use immediately. If there are any other assets you require please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Please do not share a link to this toolkit on public platforms (social media/websites) but the link can be shared with other communications teams.
Please use these assets in the event of an incident:

  1. Ensure this toolkit and associated assets are available within in Local Resilience Forum and emergency services plans to be considered and deployed at the earliest opportunity

  2. Posting, sharing or re-tweeting the social media assets and using them on your social media channels in the event of a CBRN incident


A) those affected by exposure to CBRN substances        
B) those who may be able to assist someone who has been exposed to a CBRN substance

Key Messages & Call to Action (CTA)

If you think someone has been exposed to a hazardous substance, use caution and keep a safe distance to avoid exposure yourself.

In an emergency call 999.

If you have been affected:

REMOVE yourself from the hazard to avoid further exposure. 

  • if the skin is itchy or painful, find a water source

  • move away from the hazard as safely as you can. Do not delay

  • it is important for the safety of yourself and others that you continue to stay away from the hazard

  • if the skin is itchy or painful, access to a water source is essential to remove as much substance from the skin as possible and reduce further harm

REMOVE outer clothing if affected by the substance. 

  • remove outer clothing to reduce possible further contact with any trapped substance by up to 80%

  • be very careful not to touch or spread the substance as this could lead to further injuries to the affected person or those helping them 

  • use gloves or other protective materials to cover hands and, if possible, carefully cut away clothing such as T-shirts, rather than pulling them off over the head

  • by avoiding clothing coming into contact with the face, it reduces the risk of the substance getting into eyes, mouth and nose

  • do not pull off any clothing stuck to the skin as it may damage that skin. A trained medical professional will remove when safe to do so

  • the discarded clothing may present a hazard to anyone nearby as it may be covered in or have absorbed the substance and may give off harmful fumes or particles

  • do not smoke, eat or drink

REMOVE the substance from skin if affected. 

If the substance is painful or itchy:

  • do not wipe the skin as this may spread contamination or cause further harm

  • rinse the affected area continuously with clean water as soon as possible to remove any residual substance

  • try to make sure the water can run from the affected area without pooling on the skin and potentially spreading the substance to a wider area

If the substance is not painful or itchy:

  • REMOVE the substance using a dry absorbent material to soak it up or brush it off

When should you use the REMOVE advice?

  • if you think you have been deliberately or accidently exposed to a hazardous substance 

  • if you think you have been attacked with an acidic or corrosive substance

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of exposure are not obvious. These can include:

  • the presence of hazardous or unusual materials

  • a change in environment, such as unexplained vapour, odd smells or tastes

  • unexplained signs of skin, eye or airway irritation, nausea, vomiting, twitching, sweating, disorientation, breathing difficulties

In an emergency, stay on the phone until the ambulance arrives and follow any other advice given by the 999 call handler to avoid further injury

Suggested Social Media Post Copy 

Please adapt, localise and amend for your channels and audiences. These are suggestions, and we encourage you to tailor the messaging to your audiences.

Social Media Copy Suggestion

We are aware of an ongoing incident at [location] which is affecting the health those who have been there.

Please follow the REMOVE REMOVE REMOVE advice if you or others have been affected.

If you think someone has been exposed to a hazardous substance, use caution and keep a safe distance to avoid exposure yourself.

In an emergency call 999.
[Social media asset]

Download Assets (below)

Asset List

  • REMOVE, REMOVE, REMOVE x3 social media asset 

  • square and portrait poster 

  • video

 Links to view and download the creatives can be found below:

AssetWhat's in the AssetDownload Asset
Hazardous Substance Guidance PosterDetails of how to protect yourself and others from a CBRN substance exposurePDF download
REMOVE videoDetails of how to protect yourself and others from a CBRN substance exposure Video watch and download
4x3 Screensaver4-3 screensaverScreensaver download
16x9 Screensaver16-9 screensaverScreensaver download
Hazardous Materials
Stay safe