Technical

Why one contractor has bleed control cabinets on its urban projects

GMI Construction has partnered with the Daniel Baird Foundation to install mandatory public bleed control cabinets on their urban projects. CM speaks to head of responsible business Claire Preston.

Knife crime increased by 5% in the year ending September 2023 (Image: Basphoto | Dreamstime.com)

GMI Construction was one of the first construction companies to partner with the Daniel Baird Foundation and implement mandatory public bleed control cabinets on the external hoardings of its city centre projects.

GMI is now urging more main contractors with projects in urban areas and city centres to consider adopting the same safety initiative. GMI’s head of responsible business Claire Preston explains here why this is a positive initiative that can help save lives.

Where did the idea come from?

GMI prides itself on having an industry-leading responsible business department and we’ve partnered with numerous charitable causes across our operational regions. When we learned about the Daniel Baird Foundation and its Ambulance Service-developed bleed control kits, it was clear that we could take a simple-but-effective step to potentially save lives.

The Daniel Baird Foundation charity was founded in memory of the 26-year-old who tragically lost his life to a stabbing incident outside a Birmingham in July 2017. Daniel’s death was a result of the unavailability of essential first aid and bleeding control equipment at the scene.

How important is the medical equipment?

A person suffering a serious injury can bleed out and die in as little as three minutes. It’s a very powerful statistic and the modest cost of a bleed kit really can mean the difference between life and death in critical situations. 

Headshot of Claire Preston, head of responsible business at GMI Construction

We have made all operatives aware of the medical equipment being in situ through our GMI induction on city centre projects.

Claire Preston, GMI Construction

Although knife-enable crime in 2022 was 5% lower than pre-pandemic levels, this kind of crime increased by 5% in the year ending September 2023 to almost 49,000 offences, compared with the previous year, when there were more than 46,000 offences.

We therefore felt it was an important part of our commitment to local communities that we joined The Daniel Baird Foundation’s campaign to help prevent future tragedies.

Who can access the bleed control kits?

The cabinets, manufactured by Turtle Defib Cabinets, are locked, but accessible to anyone with the code. In the event of a serious bleed injury, a person should call 999 and the operator will direct them to the nearest bleed cabinet and provide the code. The equipment can then be retrieved and used to control the bleeding before the arrival of emergency services.

We have installed bleed control cabinets on the external hoardings of multiple purpose-built student accommodation and residential sites in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and York and we’ll continue to do so on all our city centre projects.

The cabinets, from Turtle Defib Cabinets, are locked but accessible to anyone with the code (Image: Turtle Defib Cabinets)

The foundation partnered with manufacturer Turtle three years ago to design the UK’s first public bleed control cabinet and we’re now speaking to them about their combined cabinets.

For every minute that passes without defibrillation after cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by 7-10%, with survival being unlikely after 10 minutes. As time is of the essence in such a medical emergency, it makes sense to house a public bleed kit and an automated external defibrillator (AED) together.

Of course, our site teams also benefit from having the vital pieces of life-saving equipment on hand and they have the cabinet access code. We are proud to have an excellent safety record, but risk can never be eliminated completely and I know our team members have welcomed this extra level of assurance.

Do you need training to use the kit?

Not at all. The Daniel Baird Foundation worked with the West Midlands Ambulance Service to develop the kits for public use, and they have clear instructions with visuals about which items should be used for which type of injury, for example, limbs versus a person’s chest. The bleed kits contain vital pieces of life-saving equipment such as gauze, tourniquets, trauma bandages and chest seals.

Nevertheless, every second counts in an emergency and being confident of using the equipment is beneficial so we have trained a number of team members on the GMI sites where the bleed control cabinets are installed.

We have also made all operatives aware of the medical equipment being in-situ through our GMI induction on city centre projects. We’re committed to going above and beyond and hope to inspire other contractors to do the same.

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