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First Responder Advice for Treatment of Acid/Alkaline Burns

There has been a recent increase in the use of corrosive substances such as acids and alkalis being used to attack victims.  A substance could be in its original container or decanted into another to disguise it and/or weaponise it. The most common containers used to disguise are squeeze bottles, particularly Lucozade or Fruit Shoot plastic bottles, but many other types of container have been used.

Please share the following with your colleagues, management and security staff.

General Advice

  • Wear gloves and eye protection
  • Ensure the emergency services have been called
  • Avoid getting contaminated
  • Do not conduct sniff tests of bottles
  • Request suspect bottles be placed on ground prior to approach
  • If attacked, use hands to cover your face and eyes

First Aid

  • Ensure own safety by wearing two pairs of nitrile gloves and, if available, goggles to prevent contamination of the first aider
  • Flush the affected area with water for 20 minutes ensuring the chemicals are being washed away from the area, and not onto other areas of the body or pooling
  • Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible, being careful not to contaminate other areas unless the clothing is stuck. Do not pull stuck clothing — pour the water over it. Remove jewelry if possible
  • Dressings or burns dressings should not be applied until the area has been flushed for the twenty minutes, after which time they can be applied if medical help has not arrived
  • If the incident affects the eyes the minimum flushing time is ten minutes – up to 20 minutes – if the person cannot open their eyes the first aider should try and open the eyes for them if this can be done safely. It is important when flushing eyes to ensure the contamination is not spread to the other eye by positioning the person appropriately