World First Aid Day: First Aid and Road Safety, September 14, 2013

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World First Aid Day 2013 will take place on Saturday 14th September, the theme for this year is First Aid and Road Safety.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies introduced World First Aid Day (WFAD) in the year 2000, and each year, more than 100 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world organize events and ceremonies on the second Saturday of September to raise public awareness of how first aid can save lives in everyday and crisis situations.

Each year, more than 1.24 million people die in road crashes, and some 50 million are injured. Many of these deaths and injuries could be avoided if people were trained in basic first aid and were able to provide an appropriate and rapid response. First aid is by no means a replacement for emergency services; it is however, a vital initial step to providing effective and swift action that helps reduce serious injuries and improve the chances of survival. Taking immediate action and applying appropriate techniques, while waiting for professional help, can considerably reduce both deaths and injuries and the long term impact.

While there is regular campaigning to reduce the occurrence of road accidents, there has been little done to build the confidence and knowledge of the public so that they can help to reduce road death through first aid at the scene of an accident.

According to the World Health Organization, the chain of help begins with those who are present or who arrive at the scene of a crash first. Lay bystanders can play an important role in various ways including:

Contacting the emergency services and/or calling for other forms of help.
Helping to put out any fires.
Taking action to secure the scene (e.g. preventing further crashes, preventing harm to rescuers and bystanders, controlling the crowd gathered at the scene).

WFAD can be an inexpensive way to promote healthy lifestyles and to save lives by encouraging people to learn first aid skills. The idea is that you do not need to be a doctor or a professional rescuer to save lives, anybody anywhere trained with basic first aid skills can help save lives.

Ahead of this year’s WFAD, the IFRC Reference Centre for First Aid has produced an animated piece to spread the message that first aid is for everyone, everywhere.

Together we can save millions of lives.
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