World First Aid Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of first aid skills and knowledge in saving lives during emergencies. It is celebrated on the second Saturday of September every year. This year, it falls on September 9th.
The day was initiated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 2000, as a way to highlight the humanitarian efforts of its volunteers and staff who provide first aid care and training around the world. The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with 192 member National Societies and over 14 million volunteers.
The theme for World First Aid Day 2023 is “Saving Lives Through Knowledge and Compassion”. The theme emphasizes the role of first aid as a life-saving skill that anyone can learn and practice, as well as the values of empathy and solidarity that underpin it.
Why is First Aid Important?
First aid is the immediate and temporary care given to a person who is injured or ill, before professional medical help arrives or can be reached. It can include actions such as stopping bleeding, applying pressure, performing CPR, clearing airways, treating burns, and preventing infection.
First aid is important because it can:
- Reduce pain and suffering
- Prevent further injury or complications
- Save lives by stabilizing vital signs and preventing irreversible damage
- Enhance recovery by facilitating timely and appropriate treatment
- Promote a culture of safety and preparedness
According to the IFRC, more than 2 million people die each year from injuries that could have been prevented or treated with first aid. Moreover, millions more suffer from chronic disabilities and psychological trauma as a result of injuries. Therefore, first aid is not only a humanitarian duty, but also a social and economic necessity.
How to Learn and Practice First Aid?
Learning and practicing first aid is easier than you might think. There are many ways to acquire first aid skills and knowledge, such as:
- Taking a first aid course from a reputable organization, such as the Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in your country. You can find a list of courses and locations on their websites.
- Reading a first aid manual or guidebook, such as the IFRC’s First Aid for a Safer Future or the American Red Cross’s First Aid/CPR/AED Manual. You can download them for free or purchase them online.
- Watching online videos or tutorials that demonstrate first aid techniques, such as the IFRC’s First Aid App or the St John Ambulance’s YouTube channel. You can also access them on your smartphone or tablet.
- Practicing first aid scenarios with your family, friends, colleagues, or community members. You can use realistic props, such as bandages, gauze, gloves, masks, etc., or improvise with everyday items, such as scarves, towels, plastic bags, etc.
- Participating in first aid events or activities organized by local organizations, such as schools, workplaces, clubs, etc. You can also volunteer to provide first aid services at public events, such as sports matches, concerts, festivals, etc.
How to Celebrate World First Aid Day?
There are many ways to celebrate World First Aid Day and show your support for its cause. Here are some ideas:
- Share your first aid stories or experiences on social media using the hashtag #WorldFirstAidDay2023. You can also tag the IFRC (@ifrc) or your National Society (@redcross/@redcrescent) to spread the word.
- Donate to the IFRC or your National Society to support their first aid programs and initiatives. You can also become a member or a regular donor to sustain their work.
- Learn a new first aid skill or refresh your existing ones by taking a course, reading a manual, watching a video, or practicing a scenario.
- Teach someone else a first aid skill or share your knowledge with others. You can also organize a first aid workshop or demonstration for your family, friends, colleagues, or community members.
- Recognize and appreciate the first aiders in your life who have helped you or others in times of need. You can also nominate them for an award or recognition from your National Society or local authorities.
World First Aid Day 2023 is an opportunity to celebrate the power of first aid to save lives and make a difference in the world. By learning and practicing first aid skills and knowledge, you can become a part of this global movement and contribute to a safer and more prepared society.