Staff at East Midlands Ambulance Service have issued advice on how to help someone who has been a victim of an acid attack following a recent rise in incidents.
The EMAS advice comes after guidance released by NHS England and the British Associated of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons instruct those who come across an acid attack victim to 'report, remove and rinse'.
While the incidents are rare, bosses at NHS England say the health service has seen an increase in acid attacks, which cause both physical and psychological pain.
Peter Bainbridge, ambulance operations manager for Derbyshire at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), said: "If you come across a victim of an acid attack, we recommend that members of the public follow the official advice from the NHS and act quickly to minimise injury.
"You should call 999 for help, remove all contaminated clothing and wash off the acid with copious amounts of water. When helping the victim of an acid attack, be careful not to come into close contact with the acidic substance."
The three simple steps for after an acid attack are:
- Report the attack to 999 immediately
- Remove contaminated clothing carefully
- Rinse skin with running water
The National Police Chief's Council said there had been more than 400 acid or corrosive substance attacks between October 2016 and April 2017.
The number of people needing specialist burns treatment has also increased from 16 in 2014 to 32 last year.
Depending on the strength of the chemicals used, acid attacks can corrode skin and fat to leave victims with life-altering scars.
NHS England national clinical director for trauma Professor Chris Moran said: "While this type of criminal assault remains rare, the NHS is caring for an increasing number of people who have fallen victim to these cowardly attacks.
"One moment of thoughtless violence can result in serious physical pain and mental trauma, which can involve months if not years of costly and specialist NHS treatment.
"We are issuing guidance which sets out clearly and simply how people can help themselves and others in response to attacks."