Sri Lanka Red Cross calls for expansion of life-saving skills for everyone, everywhere.

13/09/2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: For World First Aid Day, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on communities island-wide to be equipped with life-saving skills, be it in times of everyday crises, disasters or conflicts. Local people save 90 per cent of lives in an emergency. In the most critical of times, bystanders are often the first to act before a professional arrives.

People with first aid skills and the confidence to use them are heroes, regardless of where and who they are. This idea applies to any disaster: a flood affecting thousands or a road accident in the middle of the day.

“Time and again, we see first aid being put into action as the first step in the chain of survival, on the ground saving lives during conflicts, disasters or in everyday crises. But you don’t need to be a medical professional to make a difference,” said Jagath Abeysinghe, the President of SLRCS. “Our vision and our commitment is that as many people, at any age, can be equipped with life-saving skills in their own community. Most of us have – or will at some time – encounter a situation where first aid is needed. Saving lives is a matter of skills that can be learned by everyone, everywhere.”

First aid is used every day on the ground by Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers across the world. During the recent floods in Kalutara, or be it at a religious function in Sri Lanka, Red Cross volunteers with First Aid have assisted many in their hour of need.

The Red Cross Red Crescent has been the world’s leading first aid trainer and provider for more than 100 years. In 2012, more than 14 million people were trained in 77 countries. In Sri Lanka over 30,000 people are being trained on first aid by our branches every year.

“Governments must support first aid training and education in places where people at every age can learn to make a difference – including schools, workplaces and driving programmes,” says the Director General of SLRCS Tissa Abeywickrama.

Every five seconds, someone in the world dies as a result of a treatable injury. Disaster fatalities have been rising steadily for the past 20 years, averaging close to 70,000 deaths annually. First aid is a driving force for what the world needs most today: skills that enable people to effectively prepare, respond and recover from crises.

First Aid is a question of life and death. Knowledge and quick action performed by bystanders in the face of a crisis can make the difference. We rely on these everyday heroes to help save lives.

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