Today Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the major first aid provider in the world.1 This started at Solferino when first aid was given to the wounded soldiers, the sick and injured without discrimination. In the 21st century, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) reaffirms its commitment to first aid within the changing context of global health. The Mission of the International Federation is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. 2

The Goals of the Federation’s Global Agenda established in 2006 are: Goal 1: To reduce the number of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters. Goal 2: To reduce the number of deaths, injuries and impact from diseases and public health emergencies. Goal 3: To increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability. Goal 4: To promote respect for diversity and human dignity and reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion.

Everyone has the potential to save lives. First aid education and practice are essential tools for the achievement of these Goals. Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers continue their efforts to make first aid available to all. First aid is not only about life saving techniques. First aid is an act of humanity showing willingness to save lives with full respect for diversity and without discrimination. Building skills in first aid with the vulnerable people can help to build safer and healthier communities. The International Federation’s Global Health and Care Strategy 2006-2010 provides the framework for the integration of first aid education and practice with all health and care activities. If the International Federation is to fully realise the potential of first aid, National Societies must take a concerted effort to increase the number of people trained in first aid and to scale up their community-based first aid actions.

Download: First aid policy

Publication date:

Document status: Final


Document data

National Societies
First aid, Health
Document type
Policy document