08/09/2012 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: On World First Aid Day, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society along with the Red Cross Red Crescent societies across the world still faces the same questions: if someone collapsed, how many people would know what to do? Would they be afraid to help because the law could hold them liable if something went wrong? Would they be empowered to save a life?
The social and legal challenges that we face today in trying to equip communities with life-saving first aid skills are different than when Henri Dunant came upon the historic battlefield in Solferino that gave birth to the Red Cross Movement. But the fundamental tenets remain the same. The Red Cross continues to equip people with the skills they need to save lives. As communities increase their first aid capacities, they reduce their vulnerabilities and become more resilient.
But first aid is not yet accessible to all. This year, on World First Aid Day, the Sri Lanka Red Cross along with the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies calls upon governments and decision makers to make first aid education available to all, with training in schools and in the workplace and also through less traditional channels such as hostels and charitable associations.
President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Jagath Abeysinghe says, “First aid training is not always accessible to all and we urgently need to improve that”.
“First aid awareness is particularly lacking amongst many vulnerable communities. In many parts of Sri Lanka where there is vulnerability we need to take steps to educate those people, who in the end, specially in times of disaster might save their lives and the lives of others”
Simultaneously, the Red Cross urge relevant authorities to create environments that empower individuals to use their skills through the adoption of legislation that does not hold first aid providers responsible for poor outcomes.
Meanwhile the branches of SLRCS have planned several First Aid trainings across the country. Steps have also been taken to hold much needed trainings in the north of Sri Lanka where the SLRCS is currently working on its IDP project providing 20,000 houses with the support from the Government of India.
For more on the First Aid trainings provided by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, Please Click here.