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Acid attack treatment kits should be given to all emergency responders, says survivor

Andreas Christopheros was attacked in 2014. Credit: ITV News

A man who had acid thrown in his face says acid attack response kits should be given to every emergency responding vehicle.

Andreas Christopheros was attacked with sulphuric acid on his doorstep in Truro, Cornwall in 2014 in a case of mistaken identity.

After initially being taken to hospital near his home, he was flown to Cardiff and then taken to the specialist burns unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

More than 2,000 people across the UK have had acid thrown at them in the last three years.

Last week Gwent Police issued special first aid kits to pub landlords to help them deal with future attacks.

Andreas was left with life-changing injuries

The pain of an acid attack is inexplicable.

My face was swelling up. I could touch it and it was out here. It was very swollen, but it was numb. It didn't feel like my skin. It didn't feel like my face at all. My eyes were just getting whiter and whiter.

I started dousing myself in as much water as I could - not knowing that was the right thing to do at the time but it seemed logical - thankfully it was, and if I'd known at the time, I would have continued with a lot more water or just gone and got in the shower until the paramedics arrived.

– Andreas Christopheros
Dai Nguyen treated Andreas at Morriston Hospital. Credit: ITV News

Dai Nguyen treated Andreas at the specialist burns unit in Swansea's Morriston Hospital for two months.

It's blinding. So if acid gets into the eye, the eye is very prone to injury. And we've had patients here who've been blinded by the acid attack.

That's such a life changing injury that it's very difficult to comprehend how much it impacts on these people.

– Dai Nguyen, Morriston Hospital

Gwent Police has been meeting with local community groups to look at what they can do.

It is something that increasingly we're listening to and seeing - albeit elsewhere in the country.

We haven't actually had an attack in Gwent of that nature to date. But it's just being in a position where we can respond effectively should it happen.

– Ch Insp Jason White

Pub landlords have been given emergency kits to help treat injuries sustained in acid attacks.

The kits contain six bottles of water, which is initially to treat the burns, as well as cling film, eye patches, and protective gear.

Gwent Police is also providing training with the aim of making landlords and owners of other premises better prepared in case of any attack in future.

Streetpaster Susan Phillips patrols at night in Blackwood and she has been given a kit too.

An acid attack response kit. Credit: ITV News

As they were saying, it's cheaper than guns and knives. And it's easy to get hold of in lots of different forms. And so yes, I can imagine it will become more prevalent. We just hope that it never hits us here in Blackwood.

– Susan Phillips, Streetpaster

But Andreas believes that giving out the kits to landlords and local organisations should just be the start.

I think with the acid attack kits, I would feel much happier if all police officers have immediate access to one in their car.

It would make more sense for all emergency services vehicles to be kitted out with them, more so than licensed premises, in my opinion.

– Andreas Christopheros