UCL News


London bombs chemical suits call

16 August 2005

Emergency personnel should be equipped with chemical protection suits so they can attend to people trapped after bombings quickly, experts say.

Assessments of what happened on July 7 in London, and what can be learned, are published in … the 'New England Journal of Medicine'. …

Writing in 'NEJM', Dr Jim Ryan [UCL Department of Surgery], said that while the attacks were unprecedented in their scale, they had been anticipated and planned for, particularly since the September 11 attacks in the US.

NHS trust chief executives had been given a legal responsibility to plan for conventional, chemical, nuclear, biological and radiological attacks.

But he added: "Despite such planning and rehearsal, however the attacks did present difficulties." …

In planning response to any future attacks, Dr Ryan says there are lessons to be learned.

"If doctors are to assist meaningfully at the scenes of explosions, they should understand the workings of emergency services.

"Such training should not be restricted to a few 'experts'; many 'passer-by' doctors engaged in casualty care at each of the scenes."

He added: "Each city should review the provision of such services and ensure that training and equipment are adequate and that these professionals can function in a structured and reliable fashion."

BBC News Online