Throughout the month of February, we’re telling the story of the 21 teenagers who were murdered in 2023. Our campaign, The 21, seeks to remember every victim as a young person with a family and their whole life ahead of them. We want to change the culture of kids carrying knives and becoming involved in violence.

Before I begin, I am no medic and have had no official medical training in this field, however I am addressing my experience after speaking with a professional.

On Sunday, December 6, I went to an event called The Table of Love and Loss, located at East Ham Town Hall in Newham.

The event brought together the friends and families of people who have been taken by tragic circumstances, including stabbings, suicide, and domestic abuse.

This was the second year running of the event, after Ayse Hussein initially set it up in 2022 in loving memory of her cousin Jan Mustafa who was murdered in Newham.

As well as the families of the bereaved, there was lots of organisations dedicated to providing support in a range of areas, including, suicide prevention, stalking, homicide, knife crime, and much more.

I was fortunate to speak with Grant Lewis, a professional at Safeguard Medical, who showed me how to try to save a person’s life after a catastrophic blood loss.

Using their bleed control kit and a dummy for education purposes, Grant guided me through the standard procedure of what to do if someone was in a life-threatening condition.

The bleed control kit comes in four main components and contains items such as gloves, tough cut scissors (which can cut through clothing to access the bleeds), a dressing which creates an artificial clot, and a chest seal which allows air to come out, but not in.

Depending on where the stab wound is on the body, different equipment will be used.

Having had no experience in first aid, let alone saving a person’s life, I was nervous to see how this would pan out.

Grant began his demonstration by stating that if it is a really “catastrophic bleed” – which means a person may bleed out in three minutes without medical help – a tourniquet will be used.

Grant told me: “A tourniquet cuts off the blood supply and should always go two inches above the limb on arms or legs.”

He demonstrated how to use the tourniquet on his arm, and identified ways to secure the tourniquet and how to lock it into place with the key.

Next, Grant showed me how to use a pressure bandage, which is stretched and pulled over any severe bleeds.

Grant said: “The stretch of the bandage adds pressure.

“It’s similar to the tourniquet, but not used as heavy.

“Like the tourniquet, the bandage has to always go two inches above the limb, it should never be used on the kneecap or the elbows.

“If it is close to those, the finger measurement will take you directly on top, and you go one stage further.”

With that in mind, Grant guided me how to package an open wound invasively, which means the bandage has to go inside the body.

He explained: “You find the source of the bleed with one finger and don’t remove it.

“Then you push the bandage underneath and keep feeding it through without taking any of the pressure off.

“All of the bandage goes inside the wound and fills up the sides to the right and left.

“If someone falls on anything (any shape), the bandage creates a jagged edged and will fit all angles.

“You will have to examine that and figure out what area the bleed is in”.

Once the wound was completely filled, Grant said you had to “hold it in place” until the bleeding stopped, and then you'd apply a bandage over the top.

Moving onto the chest area, Grant explained that the first thing you would do is identify if the wound is in the front or back of the chest.

He continued to say if there is air coming through, or it is bubbling, as well as bleeding, then you would place the chest seal right on top of the wound, which is effectively a large plaster.

Finally, once the wound has been covered in the best method possible and the bleeding has stopped, then it would be appropriate to work on the airways.

Grant added: “Don’t start any CPR whilst the person is bleeding.

“You have got three minutes.”

Bleed control kits are crucial for rapid response to traumatic injuries, particularly in situations where severe bleeding occurs.

After watching and listening to Grant, I have a better understanding on how to take immediate action before a medical professional arrives.

I believe that these kits are as user-friendly as possible and could enable bystanders to help in a life-threatening situation.