A taxi-hailing app is offering London cabbies free training to deal with health-related emergencies, including acid attacks and terrorist incidents. Mytaxi's "Knowledge+" course covers first-aid techniques including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use a defibrillator. Drivers are also given advice for handling crisis situations and basic psychology, such as reading body language and de-escalating aggressive behaviour. It's being marketed as a progression of "The Knowledge," with backing from St John Ambulance, a first aid charity, and Chris Phillips, the former head of the UK's National Counter Terrorism Security Office.
The new training should give drivers the knowledge and confidence to act as emergency responders. Devastating acid attacks are on the rise in London, and the threat of a serious terrorist incident is ever present. The fresh medical know-how should also help with sudden, unexpected health issues, such as heart attacks and cardiac arrests. These could occur in passengers or nearby pedestrians. Michelle Kerrigan, partnerships manager for St John Ambulance said: "Taxi drivers are increasingly first on the scene in an emergency, and we know that administering first aid in those crucial first few minutes can be the difference between life and death."
In addition, Mytaxi will equip 50 black cabs with first aid kits in the coming months. Taxi drivers will, of course, never replace fully qualified medics, but free and industry-backed training can only be seen as a positive for the city. "You can pretty much guarantee that whatever incident happens in London, a black cab will be at the scene or nearby," Phillips said. "Professionalising their response is a brilliant way to keep Londoners safe."