Taxi drivers provide a lifeline for many people – and now they are helping save lives.
As we hear about more tragedies resulting from knife crime, a charity is equipping taxis with military-grade bandages which could mean the difference between life and death.
Following the success of schemes in Manchester and Oxford, Rapaid has now given out the bandages to taxi drivers in Swindon. Drivers are also given a sticker to display in the window so that police, first-aiders and passers by know that the life-saving bandages are available.
The move does not require private hire or black cab drivers to undergo any first-aid training or to intervene in the event of a stabbing. The charity’s aim is purely to have the bandages available in public places, such as town centres and outside restaurants, bars and venues where taxi drivers are on the front line.
The aim of the initiative is to allow passers-by to flag down a taxi and grab a bandage in the event of an emergency.
The launch in Swindon comes after six people were stabbed in the town in a month. Rapaid founder Alex Chivers knows how important it is for victims to receive the right care as soon as possible. A veteran of Afghanistan and former police officer, has seen devastating injuries first hand and says the bandages can deliver 30lb of pressure to a wound, which can stop someone bleeding to death.
And for Mr Chivers, the important thing is making the bandages available in the right place at the right time.
He told the BBC: “This could be the difference between life or death.
“No training is needed. It’s just for those first vital five minutes before help arrives.
“No one is expecting the taxi drivers to become pseudo paramedics – they are carrying these for us and for the emergency services as well.”
“Police officers know they are on board – they know if they see one of those Rapaid stickers they can flag one of those taxis down and say ‘we need your bandages, something terrible has happened’ and they are there.”
The packs contain four bandages and four pairs of surgical gloves and have previously been distributed to pubs, community centres and shops.
Following the fatal stabbing of a teenager in Swindon in December, Mr Chivers hopes that having the bandages available and mobile can prevent further tragedies.
He said: “Unfortunately, it only takes five minutes to bleed to death if you’ve got a serious bleeding injury – this could be the difference between life or death.
“There is a knife crime problem and it’s rising. There’s no getting away from that.”
“Unfortunately, there was tragic evidence of that a few weeks ago, it just reminds everyone that knives are being carried.”
The move has been welcomes by taxi drivers in the town.
Mustafa Yilmas, of the Swindon Taxi Association, told the BBC: “What Swindon was like 10, 15, or maybe 20 years and today, there is a very big difference – that’s why these stabbings, these recent incidents, are a bit worrying.
“That is why we have to take action – so the packs are one of the actions we have taken with Alex and our driver colleagues.”
Wiltshire Police are also backing Mr Chivers’ initiative.
Superintendent Phil Staynings said: “The distribution of emergency bandages to taxis across the borough of Swindon could be the difference in saving someone’s life and we are pleased that the work of Rapaid could make a huge difference in communities.
“This is such a fantastic initiative by Alex Chivers the founder of Rapaid and Wiltshire Police are fully supportive of their work in our communities”.
It is great to see members of the taxi fleet helping to make such a difference in the communities they serve.
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