First aid

The IFRC is one of the world’s leading first aid providers. First aid is a humanitarian act that should be accessible to all. With first aid skills volunteers and communities are empowered to save lives without discrimination.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a battle in northern Italy sparked an idea that has since changed the world. On 24 June 1859, Henry Dunant, a young Geneva businessman, witnessed horrifying suffering and agony following the battle of Solferino. The need for humanitarian action is still as vital today as it was in 1859.


Millions of people are hurt or killed by injuries every year due to inadequate response or lack of timely assistance. Taking immediate action and applying the appropriate techniques, while waiting for professional help, can considerably reduce deaths and injuries, and the impact of disasters and everyday emergencies. First aid is not a replacement for emergency services. It is a vital initial step for providing effective and swift action that helps to reduce serious injuries and improve the chances of survival.


People living in war-torn or disaster-affected areas are often not given the opportunity to be trained in basic first aid. First aid awareness is lacking in many vulnerable communities, where a very basic idea of how to treat an injury or keep someone alive, would have real impact. We believe that first aid reduces vulnerabilities and helps build stronger communities.

Have you completed the IFRC’s online first aid course looking at five of the most common causes of injuries in children and infants? Sign-up to the introductory course to learn key first aid skills for free (

CPR video created in partnership with Philip Foundations



International first aid and resuscitation guidelines 2016International first aid and resuscitation guidelines 2016

For National Society first aid programme managers, scientific advisory groups, first aid instructors and first responders.


Learn first aid!

Ready to learn life-saving first aid skills?  Find out more about available first aid courses by contacting your Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society using the contact details below!