One hundred and fifty years ago, a battle in northern Italy sparked an idea that has since changed the world. On 24 June 1859, Henry Dunant, a young Geneva businessman, witnessed horrifying suffering and agony following the battle of Solferino. He mobilized the civilian population, mainly women and girls, to care for the wounded irrespective of their role in the conflict. He secured them with the necessary materials and supplies and helped in the establishment of temporary hospitals. His book “A memory of Solferino” inspired the establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1863
The need for humanitarian action is still as vital today as it was in 1859. Millions of people are hurt or killed by injuries every year due to inadequate response or lack of timely assistance. Taking immediate action and applying the appropriate techniques, while waiting for professional help, can considerably reduce deaths and injuries, and the impact of disasters and everyday emergencies. First aid is not a replacement for emergency services. It is a vital initial step for providing effective and swift action that helps to reduce serious injuries and improve the chances of survival.
People living in war-torn or disaster-affected areas are often not given the opportunity to be trained in basic first aid. First aid awareness is lacking in many vulnerable communities, where a very basic idea of how to treat an injury or keep someone alive, would have real impact. We believe that first aid reduces vulnerabilities and helps build stronger communities.
World First Aid Day, which was introduced by the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in 2000, is an opportunity to raise awareness about a life saving act. This year on World First Aid Day, the theme is ‘First aid and road safety’.
Everyone should know how to save a life. Age is no bar. First aid and ageing population builds a positive image of ageing and recognizing older people as an important resource.
More older people trained in first aid means they can take swift and effective action to reduce serious injuries, spot early warning signs for noncommunicable diseases such as strokes.
In 2023 World First Aid Day in USA falls on September 9.