Every year the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement commemorates the WORLD FIRST AID DAY on the second Saturday in SEPTEMBER. This is celebrated around the world where all National societies organize their own activities according to their needs. The 2014 theme is : “BE A HERO, SAVE A LIFE”. The Red Cross Society of Seychelles for this year’s celebration aims raise awareness on the importance of First Aid and to develop a more positive approach towards the idea of learning First Aid.

Every five seconds, someone in the world dies from an injury. Whether that is from an accident or natural disaster, we are all at risk when it comes to emergencies. Anyone, anywhere at any time can be affected with little to no warning. But would you know what to do if your child choked on a toy or your neighbour got hurt during a fire or someone drowning?

Many of us would not. How can we take steps to change that?

In emergencies, ninety per cent of lives are saved by local people. Everyday people - not always professional doctors, paramedics or emergency responders – are responsible for acting quickly in the first moments after an emergency strikes. Many times, fear and lack of first aid skills stand in the way of saving a life at stake. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival if administered immediately after sudden cardiac arrest. But only 32 per cent of these victims receive it from a bystander.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

One of the easiest ways to prepare to save a life is to get trained in first aid. Further, governments need to support first aid training and education in places where people at every age can learn to make a difference – schools, workplaces and driving programmes. Here in the Seychelles the attempt to make this trend popular is getting better, however more efforts are needed in order to get it moving at the right pace.

First aid is the first step in the chain of survival during an emergency. In Seychelles we have yet to advocate for and consider a law that governs the issue of compulsory First Aid to acquire a driving license for example. Contrastingly, in many low- and middle-income countries, the percentage of people trained is extremely low. Laws making first aid compulsory at every stage of the lifecycle result in both the lifesaving skills and confidence. Preparing people with these skills also build more resilient communities, better preparing neighbours and friends to act when the next disaster strikes.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent trains more than 14 million people all over the world, in first aid every year. Out of its 400 members and volunteers, the Red Cross Society of Seychelles has over 165 trained first aiders of whom 40 are also trained as First Aid Instructors. Amongst the trained first aiders are many are youth who are highly involved in the 7 Red Cross school Clubs all over Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. The Red Cross Society of Seychelles also trains over 500 individuals yearly, who either come from different organizations or as individuals.

For more than 100 years, first aid has been a main service provided by Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers. We see its effectiveness daily, but we also know there will always be another person to help. This is why the RCSS continues to strengthen its First Aid programmes whereby it is done under the theme “A First Aider in every home” which targets the most vulnerable groups namely children, the disabled and the elderly, sensitizing them on the importance of First Aid and tips that they could use in their homes

The time to act is now. Get trained in first aid, save a life.