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Nottinghamshire firefighters get trauma packs in response to Manchester Arena inquiry

Equipment packs to deal with explosive and highly traumatic injuries have been introduced for firefighters in Nottinghamshire in response to an inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing.

The Manchester attack, on May 22 2017, was the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK since the 2005 July 7 bombings in London.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a home-made explosive device in the arena’s foyer as people left an Ariana Grande concert.

More than 900 people were injured and 22 people died.

An inquiry opened in September 2020 and came to a conclusion in February of last year, having heard evidence from hundreds of witnesses and examined the actions of authorities.

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Chairman Sir John Saunders determined he could not rule out the survival of some victims if the emergency response had been better.

Sir John said significant aspects of the response “went wrong” between the ambulance services, fire services and police forces.

These included the fact there was a failure to declare a major incident, fire crews took more than two hours to attend, there was an overall lack of efficient communication and first aid training was inadequate.

The inquiry findings and the impact on the service in Nottinghamshire was discussed during a fire authority meeting on Friday, April 28.

Chief fire officer for Nottinghamshire, Craig Parkin, said work had been done to review and improve interoperability and communication between services and control rooms.

Work has also been done to improve how firefighters are able to respond to emergencies in a medical capacity.

“The report made 139 recommendations, 62 of which are relevant to this organisation and all fire and rescue services,” Mr Parkin said.

“I am pleased to say we have a really high standard in this organisation and it has been long-standing.

“We have some gaps about whether we should do more or not, moving into medical prescription that some might do, in terms of more specialised teams.

“But, as a general rule, all of our front-line firefighters are trained to a high standard in defibrillation, we have introduced trauma packs so where there are explosive injuries, highly traumatic [injuries], [they have] things like tourniquets and those kinds of things.

“They are all now carried in the back of your flexi-duty officers’ cars. So there is a trauma pack, we have done a bit of an upskill in terms of the care gap.

“That is something we will have to keep under constant review, but we did send some reassurance back nationally, about what our medical position was in terms of front-line firefighters.”

The number of officers who help share information, data and intelligence between services on tactics, such as counter terrorism, have also been increased.

These officers are known as ‘National Inter-agency Liaison Officers’, or NILOs.

“Those kind of roles we have increased the number of and that has been challenging, it isn’t easy to do in terms of resources,” Mr Parkin said.

“I think we’re in double figures now in terms of NILOs in the organisation, so we can roughly guarantee there will be one on duty, or two on duty, most times.

“There are lots of risk implications about not doing these things, but I’ve hopefully given you reassurance that we are taking it very, very seriously.”

Cllr Michael Payne (Lab), the chairman of the committee, added: “A hugely important piece of work and as you said, Craig, significant progress has already been made but we have got much more to do.”

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