Sunday, 22 January 2017

Terrorism First-Aid Initiative: Interview with Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE

by Thomas Locke

Damage to the the London Underground train
involved in the terrorist attack at Aldgate tube station (Photo: PA)
“We give people skills that can save lives” Brigadier Tim Hodgetts has told The Portsmouth Point.

citizenAID™, developed by experienced UK civilian and military clinicians, Tim Hodgetts, Keith Porter, Andrew Thurgood and Peter Mahoney, consists of an app, handbook and website that help the general public to save lives in a bombing, stabbing or shooting incident.

The reason that this training is so vital is due to the “therapeutic vacuum” between when you call 999 and when the emergency services arrive. Tim told us that “Although we have fabulous emergency services, we need to be able to do something to keep people alive or to save lives before the emergency services can arrive”

He says that first-aid is a “really important life skill because you never know when an incident is going to happen” and that “we need a critical mass of the public who are able to do something useful if they are the bystander when an incident happens”

He has said that “I think that we have pitched the level right with citizenAID in terms of making sure they understand safety messages to keep themselves safe” and “we give them [the public] skills that can save lives but can be relatively simply understood by all levels of literacy and education.”

The initiative has been supported by the counter-terrorism police. He has said that “while general first aid training prepare you for everyday emergencies, what citizenAID™ is designed for is to help the public in a shooting, stabbing or bombing incident” . These incidents are “unusual but not impossible to be involved in.”

He continued to say that “Because of recent events in Europe over the last eighteen months or so, together with colleagues, we decided that now is the time” citizenAID™ wants to generate a “critical mass of people who will have some basic understanding of what to do in these specific situations.”

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts spent “25 years developing systems that have spread around the world for professionals in how to manage multiple casualties after a bombing, a train crash, a plane crash, any kind of incident.”

“By providing free materials that people can download, such as the app, it means that it is accessible to anybody who wants to make themselves prepared.”

“The #1 Trending App”
Since its launch, Tim has told us that “it is already growing faster than we have ever anticipated” On the day of the launch, the citizenAID™ website received over 1,000,000 hits, their FaceBook Live video received 400,000 views and their app was the #1 trending app across Google Play and iTunes. Tim said that “We have identified something that the public is interested in”.

He expects citizenAID™ to “grow in the UK and grow the free information and also develop accredited training for those who want it” He also wants to internationalise also and has received interest from across Europe, Russia, the Philippines, Australia and Brazil. A US version of the app has already been published.

Tim also told The Portsmouth Point that “I genuinely believe that First-Aid skills matter and I also believe that the younger you start something, the more it becomes part of your character and your actions as a whole”

He also said that “as an emergency physician, I see the impact of when people who can do good First-Aid at a point of injury or illness before the patient arrives at the hospital”

“We believe that being prepared really matters. Those first 5 minutes count, they make the difference, you make the difference. You can save lives…

With the right skills and knowledge YOU can deliver care to yourself , your friends and family and to the stranger caught up in a terrorist attack”

You can find their website here

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