s they mark World First Aid Day today, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world say they are steadily increasing access to first aid services and training for the general public.
‘We’ve come a long way since the battle of Solferino, when Henry Dunant mobilised volunteers to provide first aid to all the war wounded, regardless of their nationality, nearly 150 years ago,’ said Grace Lo, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s Public Health in the Community Unit, in Geneva.
‘First aid used to be recognised as the domain of medical or para-medical personnel.
‘Today, all experts recognise that the general public must be trained in first aid, because it is effective in saving lives, improving the chances of survival and minimising the consequences of a road crash or heart attack,’ said Mr. Lo. ‘These skills should also be updated regularly.’
First aid is a core activity for virtually all the Federation’s 186 member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and, according to reports, there is a steady increase in the number of staff and volunteers involved in first aid, either to provide services in crisis situations or to train the general public.
With hundreds of thousands of staff and volunteers involved in first aid, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the most important providers of first aid services and training globally.
In 2007, the American Red Cross trained 5.4 million people, nearly half of the 10.9 million people who completed first aid courses in the US.
In the Cayman Islands, over 1100 people have been trained in the past 12 months.
‘We hold trainings for members of the public weekly and other workplace trainings for Cayman’s business community on demand,’ said Peter Hughes, CI Red Cross training manager. Courses range from basic first aid with CPR to lifeguarding and professional responder training.
‘We strive to meet the demands of the local community by offering a range of courses to meet their everyday needs, whether those needs are professional or personal,’ said Mr. Hughes.
‘We also commit to finding corporate sponsorship for training in essential areas. Our current campaign seeks to deliver first aid and CPR training to our island’s school teachers, of which, over 100 have already received free training.’
The percentage of people trained in first aid is also increasing in many other countries.
Although figures vary widely, the organisation says some countries are achieving remarkable results. In Norway, 90 per cent of the population has been trained in first aid and 80 per cent of Austrians and Germans have undertaken training.
Some of the secrets to their success have included making first aid education a prerequisite to obtaining a driving license, teaching it to children in schools or requiring that teachers be trained.
To learn more about how to sponsor a training campaign, or for information about training opportunities in the Cayman Islands, contact the training manager on 925-0715 or email [email protected]