To quote a friend of mine who is currently an A&E Nurse in one of the country’s busiest Emergency Departments.
“After a long night shift, dealing with everything from the fall out of a road traffic incident to drunken ladies who have drunk way too much and are vomiting over my feet! I am then made aware that a broken bottle has been drawn on one of the other staff along the corridor by a gentleman (if you could call him that) who is not happy with the treatment being given to him. Not only is he not happy with the treatment he has been given, he has threatened other staff by walking up and down the corridor waving the broken bottle around. Had it not been for the security staff who turned up in their timely fashion I dread to think what the outcome would have been”.
Within the NHS and most of the major organisations, PPE is worn in all shapes and sizes and used in so many different ways. From the protective visors, glasses, gloves, aprons and scrubs, to simple barrier methods that provide a level of protection.
These are barriers/protection from infection, contamination or poisoning (to name a few) but what about hard protection, yes hard hats for workers outside or in industry, but the protection against attacks such as from bottle and knife attacks that is becoming an even bigger threat to those who work long and hard hours to help those who need it the most! No one is judged, doesn’t matter the colour, religion or creed. Everyone is treated as per priority and for what aliment they present, and still they must deal with a torrent of day-to-day verbal, mental and shockingly physical abuse!
If you read the section above that covers hazards, you will see it mentions protection from sharp and abrasive objects, someone has thought about that level of protection… but to what level?
I have a lot of friends that work in and around the NHS in some form or another! From the front-line paramedics, to the ever so important lab staff that work the hours in the background! All of which provide an outstanding service given the constraints placed against them. There are some teams that are already wearing some sort of protection such as paramedics who are potentially first on the scene but only the security staff within hospitals itself wear some sort of protection, if at all.
These recent articles demonstrating the ever-increasing threat being placed on our NHS staff and the potential threat from terrorism, is it…will it be… hopefully never, but it may be matter of time before we see one of our busiest hospitals attacked. We have seen attacks on our children, families and friends. It seems that no one is exempt and if they see an opportunity they WILL exploit it in every way. The links below are just a couple that can worryingly be found on a quick search!
More needs doing in the way of protecting for these people. Short term and long term!
In this context please read our CEO’s article: “Hospital Security Professionals in Urgent Need For Stab Resistant Vests”
After the latest release from the government reference direction on crowded places, it’s a worry that the government feel that there is a need to escalate the country’s awareness that in crowded places we are at risk of potential terrorist attacks. Please read: www.gov.uk/government/publications/crowded-places-guidance
It was commented that during the London attacks the medical first responders were asked to stay at a safe distance due to the ongoing situation! Once they were allowed forward and after treating the casualties, they were evacuated to local hospital. What if said attacker had not been “dispatched” and was, what I like to call, a “wounded animal” that once backed into a corner would come out fighting? What if that corner was a hospital treatment bay! What if during treatment they would feign injury and cause a potential secondary situation within a hospital, which are classed as a possible soft target… What protection (PPE) is then given to the hospital staff, who must deal with this situation presented to them, there and then?
In the event of a possible situation like this what PPE do hospital staff have… shockingly none! I am not saying they must do their day-to-day job wearing a full set of tactical kit but to have “something” that could protect them in some way, would be better than nothing.
The idea of having some sort of Emergency Body Armour they could literally throw on if needed, even looking at the wider audience and places of mass gatherings (stadiums, stations, department stores, tourist attractions and concert halls to name but a few) that are a potential target; they could do with some sort of easy access protection that could be stored away and pulled out with the minimal of fuss but offering the maximum protection with a great life span on them.
Looking at the level of protection given to most on a day-to-day shift or job, this is minimal if any? Place a small amount of well concealed vests around largely populated areas and you will have an instant layer of protection.
Would this have changed the outcome of the recent attacks around the world if there had been protection provided.
In summary, we at PPSS Group believe in protecting those who serve us and are looking to have a something that could be positioned in such a way or place that could be easily grabbed by anyone who needs protection. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!
Scott Ferris has worked in and around emergency medical staff, both military and civilian for well over two decades. He has a genuine passion for helping others in an emergency environment and in a rescue capability. His care for the complete strangers he meets in his day to day job or the people he plucks off the side of some wind-swept mountain is second to none. Scott is PPSS Group’s Head of Client Management
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