National Association of Business Crime Partnerships

How to respond to an acid attack


Guidance on how to respond to hazardous substance incidents

Security guards, door supervisors and other people working within the private security industry or hospitality/ retail environments may be the first responders to an incident where people have been exposed to a hazardous or corrosive substance. These substances could be vapour, powder, or liquid. It could also be from an acid attack. 

The NHS and leading burns surgeons have issued new first aid guidance to help ensure victims of acid attacks get the right help fast.

Whilst the overall number of people impacted by this type of attack remains low, people are advised to take three simple steps in the event they witness or are victim of an attack: Report, Remove, Rinse. 

How to respond in the event of an acid attack

If you think someone has been exposed to a hazardous substance:

Use caution and keep a safe distance to avoid exposure yourself. 

Tell those affected to:

Remove remove remove

REMOVE themselves from the immediate area to avoid further exposure to the substance. Fresh air is important. If the skin is itchy or painful, find a water source. 

REMOVE outer clothing if affected by the substance. Try to avoid pulling clothing over the head if possible (cutting clothing with scissors is an option here if available). Do not smoke, eat or drink. Do not pull off clothing stuck to skin. 

REMOVE the substance from skin using a dry absorbent material to either soak it up or brush it off. RINSE continually with water if the skin is itchy or painful. 




For a printable handout please see the SIA website here




This information has been taken from the NHS website and the SIA website.