Knife attacks -a growing challenge for First Responders

Knife related crime is a growing challenge in Australia. What do First Responders need to do to be prepared to treat the victims?


Paul McFarlane

4/22/20232 min read

The sickening murder of Paramedic Steven Tougher last week devastated the First Responder Community and is another chilling reminder of how lethal knives can be.

New South Wales continues to face a growing problem with knife-related crimes with many incidents now linked to gang violence or individuals with poorly managed mental health conditions. Knife related offences have risen 12% from 2019 to 2020, and in Sydney, there were more than 400 stabbing incidents in 2020 alone! Many of our readers will remember the fatal stabbing that occurred at the Sydney Royal Easter Show 12 months ago, where an encounter between two rival gangs and a single knife wound, took the life of a 17 year old teen.

At Responder Wear, we have become increasingly concerned at how commonplace knives have become in the community, and for the ability of these weapons to be used to settle petty disputes. As a business that helps First Responders save lives, we strongly encourage first aiders to make sure they are prepared to treat patients who have been stabbed, especially when it results in life threatening bleeding. Every second counts, so you will need to be decisive and focused as you target the interventions that will save a life.

So, we need to ask the question - are you equipped and prepared to manage a patient who has been stabbed?

  • Do you carry a tourniquet and know how to use it on when limbs are bleeding?

  • Do you carry chest seals so you can manage thoracic stab wounds?

  • Do you carry compression bandages and packing gauze so you can manage junctional stab wounds (wounds to the neck, axilla or groin)?

  • And do you practice using these interventions regularly so that when the adrenaline is flowing and the clock is ticking, you can apply them consistently and effectively?

The proliferation of knives in the community and the willingness of people to use them to settle petty squabbles, means this is a genuine issue we need to address as a society. Everyone must play their part in raising awareness about the severity of the situation to ensure a safer community for all.

As first aid providers, have you been trained to manage major bleeding, and do you carry the necessary medical equipment so you can manage life threatening injuries? If not, please sign up with a reputable first aid provider who runs major bleeding courses, so you can increase your life saving skills. And check out our range of “Stop the Bleed” products to ensure you have the quality bleeding control supplies you will need in an emergency. Our business exists so that you are equipped to save lives, so please reach out if you need guidance on what products you should add to your medical kit.