Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse than they already are with Jihadists blowing up and attacking people all over the UK. A new trend of attack has broken out in London. Acid attacks in both liquid and power form have been reported all over the city. At the moment it seems to be mainly gang and drug related. That said, there have been a couple of robberies from people’s vehicles with the windows down which have targeted mobile phones in cradles by passengers on scooters. With the easy access to many types of domestic and industrial acid, the worry is it wont be long before the terror types pick up on how successful the attacks are and adjust the method for their own campaign.
Method of delivery and attack can be from squeeze type bottles, water pistols or straight from the container it was bought in. A lot of acid can be delivered accurately in a very short period of time and if it hits the eyes it can be incapacitating from the start.
With the real threat of more attacks, it is again time to ask what can be done to prevent such attacks and what can you do, should you witness or fall prey to such a heinous act. It is something I have been asked already many times on social media from people who are genuinely concerned for themselves and their loved ones.
From a normal everyday perspective the only real countermeasures which immediately spring to mind are to stay away from known trouble spots and potential flash points. It is impossible to guess where and when every single attack may take place. But local knowledge may indicate where there is a higher threat. If traveling by car try to keep attractive items away from open windows or quite simply don’t open them and lock the doors which is by the way my preferred option every time. If someone threatens you with such an attack, you have to take them seriously and report it and try to get something done about it. There have been many cases before this recent spate of acid used after domestic disputes.
If you are working as a doorman or even a bodyguard, it may be prudent if the threat is high to wear some form of eye protection and keep an umbrella in hand, should you spot trouble early enough to get out of harm’s way and protect yourself until secure. You need to get people out-of-the-way and behind cover as quickly as possible if an attack is happening in or around your area of responsibility. You also need to be quite clear in your instruction so that everyone knows there is acid being thrown about. Know your local area and try find out who the potential troublemakers and gang members are, especially if it becomes a modus operandi for a particular outfit, it may just give you the drop on them. You need to be aware of what they have in their hand and what they are doing with it. The slightest movement may give them away and give you enough time to react. They won’t all want to covert carry the stuff in case of spillage, so they may have stuff on display from the beginning of any attack.
Should the worst happen and you witness an attack, you need to get out-of-the-way first, alert others and keep out of the way until it is safe. Jumping in is for professionals who have been trained. That said, if you have no choice consider using street furniture to protect yourself. Dust bin lids, bar umbrellas and anything which gives you stand-off and cover is advisable. Going through an area which has just seen an attack is not advised; especially with powders the stuff can hang in the air for a while. You need to think about contamination from start to finish.
First aid on victims needs to be swift. Acid will burn through skin and bone very quickly, this could be destroying arteries causing bleeds and other complications. The quicker you act, the better the chance the victim has of survival. Do not waste time trying to identify what has been used. This will just give the victim more time to burn. You need to wash the affected area carefully with water. Try to run the water over the affected part and straight to the floor. You don’t want to spread the stuff about and cause more damage. Be careful of any contaminated puddles caused by washing. These to can still burn and should be stayed away from until washed away properly. There is a myth in the UK that you should tip milk on victims. It’s a complete load of rubbish and can make it worse.
Finally in my EDC (everyday carry) I have water in a sig bottle which is purely for first aid purposes my drinking water is always separate. I do change the water from time to time but I never drink it.
Featured image courtesy of AP