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People urged to learn first aid skills to help save lives in terror attacks

Members of the public are being encouraged to learn first aid skills in case they are caught up in a terrorist attack.

CitizenAID has been developed by military and civilian medics to teach people about how to provide potentially life-saving treatment before the arrival of emergency services in the event of an incident.

The information is available through an app and pocketbook and is designed to complement the "Run, Hide, Tell" guidance given by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is currently at "severe", meaning an attack is highly likely.

The citizenAID system is intended to give members of the pubic straightforward information on how to plan, prepare and react to an incident.

Its creators say it could prove most effective in the immediate aftermath of an attack when emergency services may be primarily concerned with removing a threat, rather than treating victims.

While many people may know how to react to a medical emergency such as a heart attack, they say a different response is needed to act effectively after a serious injury from bomb blast, gunshot and stabbing.

Quick actions, particularly to stop bleeding through techniques such as applying a tourniquet, will save lives, they say.

Sir Keith Porter, professor of clinical traumatology at the University of Birmingham, is one of four clinicians behind the initiative.

He told the BBC: "I have treated hundreds of soldiers whose lives have been saved by simply the applications of tourniquets when they have been shot or blown up. Teaching individual soldiers these skills has saved lives.

"And I think it is essential we train the public in those skills and that is exactly what citizenAID does."

CitizenAID founder Brigadier Tim Hodgetts said the initiative should not scare people.

"We are empowering the public," he told the BBC.

''By giving them a step-by-step system we take away the anxiety because the decisions are already made and the right decisions in the right order can save lives."

:: The free app is available via the Google Play or the Apple App Store. The pocket book can be bought for £1.99 from medtree.co.uk and spservices.co.uk. More information can be found at citizenaid.org.

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