First aid is a fundamental skill that can provide effective and rapid interventions to help reduce injury and suffering, and improve the chances of survival of someone in need.

During the battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859, a young Geneva merchant, Henry Dunant, suffered horrendous misery and agony. Nevertheless, the man obtained the necessary equipment and supplies for them and assisted in the construction of makeshift hospitals. A Memory of Solferino, his book published in 1863, led to the formation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

As outlined in the book, Dunant proposed the creation of an independent organization that provides immediate care to wounded soldiers. In the aftermath of his writings going viral, Dunant founded the International Committee of the Red Cross and is considered a co-founder of the organization.

World First Aid Day was established by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 2000.

Every year, millions of people and animals are injured and die due to a lack of timely medical attention. Therefore, learning first aid can prevent major incidents by providing immediate care until professional assistance arrives.

Around the world, more than 100 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies organize events and ceremonies on the second Saturday of September to raise public awareness of the importance of first aid in everyday life and in times of emergency. First aid should be accessible to all, including the most vulnerable, and should form part of a broader development strategy.

World First Aid Day 2022 theme is Lifelong First Aid.

In line with Strategy 2030, the IFRC is committed to scaling up its first aid programs to make every National Society around the world capable of preparing communities – with a high-quality approach – to face disasters as well as daily risks.

IFRC has been the world’s leading first aid trainer and provider for more than 100 years. In 2017, more than 20 million people were trained worldwide by associated National Societies.

While the marketplace has changed, IFRC believes that performing first aid is an act of humanity – not just a series of techniques. IFRC is one among many institutions, organizations and nongovernmental organizations that specialize in training and advocating for first aid.

World First Aid Day is an annual opportunity to highlight the importance of first aid around the globe as an act of humanitarian empowerment and as a key component of a wider resilience approach; it is an occasion to reach a wider public audience and try to change the way the world thinks about first aid. The Global First Aid Reference Centre is in charge to coordinate this event and provide resources for National Societies.


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