Knife crime is on the rise with the office of national statistics showing an increase of 43% to 57 incidents in 2018-19 within London alone. Sadly these incidents cost lives, prompting the City of London Police with the support of The Daniel Baird Foundation to install bleed control kits in the financial district’s pubs and clubs. These kits contain simple to apply trauma items that can be used to treat a potentially life threatening stab or gunshot wound.

What Are They?

Bleed control kits have a similar look to a soft cased first aid kit but only contain specific items that are useful when treating life threatening knife or gunshot wounds. Unlike standard first aid kits which have have a wide range of items for non-emergency use.  

They are designed to be put in an easily accessible place so that any member of the public could grab the kit in the event of a fight, accident or terrorist attack.

Helpful hint - Why not keep the kit with the AED which also needs to be accessible at all times 

What’s Inside?

There are a range of different kits within the marketplace but most focus on 4-5 primary items to treat different levels of trauma:

Trauma Bandages

Conventional bandages may require the first aider to tie a knot or carefully prepare the bandage beforehand. Trauma bandages however are designed for fast application and are usually secured quickly via clips or even velcro. They are also more elasticated making them highly suitable for stab wounds when time is of the essence.


The standard tourniquet is designed for fast application to an arterial bleed or amputation. When secured correctly above the wound they will cut off the blood supply, limiting loss, and can be left in place until the arrival of the emergency services.

Haemostatic Gauze Dressing

Haemostatic gauze dressings can be used when tourniquet application is not viable and as a direct alternative during an emergency. They are best described as a  Z shaped foldable piece of material that can be stuffed inside of a wound to pack it out and limit further blood loss. 

Chest Seals

The chest is a primary target for attackers using knives and even guns. Alongside the risk of blood loss many lives are lost when air is sucked through into the lungs and has nowhere to escape causing a condition known as tension pneumothorax

Fast application chest seals have an easy to open adhesive pad that then sticks directly over the wound. The pad can be left in place whilst awaiting the arrival of the emergency services.

Helpful hint - Also within the kit are gloves and scissors used for cutting clothing off the casualty

Why Do You Need The Kits?

The average response time of the London ambulance service is roughly 7 minutes to catastrophic bleeds yet the casualty may only have 3-4 minutes to survive without treatment. This is where the bleed control kit can be used to buy the casualty time and will hopefully save future lives.

If the kit is accessible then a trained first aider could be applying the most appropriate item within 1-2 minutes of the incident occurring, which can have a massive impact on the amount of blood lost prior to the arrival of the emergency services

Helpful hint - Immediately dial 999 / 112 in the event of a serious stab / gunshot wound