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NaCTSO Refresh ‘Crowded Places’ Counter Terrorism Guidance

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has refreshed their 'Crowded Places Guidance' to help people respond safely to incidents involving hazardous substances – prompting people to act quickly, which can save lives.

The 'REMOVE, REMOVE, REMOVE' procedure has now been added to the Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Attacks section and is designed to support first responders.

Focusing on early self-help actions, for suspected deliberate or accidental exposure to a hazardous substance, the procedure consists of three parts:

  • Leaving the area to reduce further exposure.
  • The immediate removal of outer clothing that may be affected by the substance.
  • The removal of the hazardous substance.

As featured in the SecuriGroup blog earlier this year, the NHS have released specific guidance for response to acid attacks – you must rinse affected areas with gallons of water.

NaCTSO guidance has been developed through extensive research and analysis of previous incidents, and the assessment of current known threats.

Assaults involving Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) materials have more than doubled since 2012, with 465 recorded in London alone last year.

The UK now has one of the highest rates of recorded CBR attacks per capita in the world.

The 'Remove, Remove, Remove' messaging is a refresh of pre-existing teaching materials designed to instruct front-line emergency services personnel how to treat a suspected exposure to a hazardous substance. This can include a deliberate or accidental exposure to a hazardous vapour, powder or liquid, such as an 'acid attack'.

These materials have been redesigned to make core elements quicker and easier to absorb, remember and apply, allowing first responders to significantly reduce harm to affected casualties in the unlikely event of exposure.

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Graham Finnigan, a spokesman for the National Ambulance Resilience Unit

Criminologists say the rise in criminal use of corrosive substances is because they are simple to obtain and difficult for authorities to monitor.

It has also been reported that scenarios are being planned for by security chiefs at Canary Wharf in east London for the potential release of hydrogen sulphide in a confined space. Recent plots disrupted in France and Germany involved the biotoxin ricin, derived from castor beans.

With concerns for the potential impact these attacks can have on large events, the Football Association – the governing body of association football in England – is incorporating 'REMOVE' into pocket guides for sports ground stewards ahead of the new season starting next week.

The procedure will be also be referenced in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (The Green Guide), a key resource for all stakeholders involved in event planning in the UK.

Understanding the threat we all face, and of the ways we can mitigate it, can help keep us safer - everyone can play a role in this effort by taking steps to help boost their protective security.

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