First aid

The IFRC and our 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the world’s leading providers and trainers in first aid. Every year, we train over 23 million people in first aid—empowering them with the skills to save lives.

First aid has been at the heart of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since we were founded more than 150 years ago.

Every minute counts in a crisis. But no matter where you are in the world, professional medical help may not always be immediately available. By taking action through effective first aid, we can save countless lives.

In most cases, first aid is performed by passers-by—usually members of the public—who witness an accident or emergency. When trained, people can provide basic medical care to treat minor injuries and preserve life until professional medical help arrives.

We believe first aid is a humanitarian act, vital to supporting healthy and resilient communities. It should be accessible to everyone, everywhere without discrimination.

Watch: First aid saves lives

Learn first aid with us

Every one of our 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies offers first aid training, education and services to their communities. Right now there are more than 165,000 active Red Cross and Red Crescent first aid trainers making first aid available for all.

To become a certified first aider, contact the National Society in your country for more information on available courses and training.

You can also scroll down for free IFRC online first aid training courses which we hope will encourage you to seek certified training.

For more information about the IFRC’s work in first aid, contact:

IFRC online first aid training

A mother and son smile in a small rural village in Laos in June 2017

First aid for babies and children

Accidental injury poses one of the greatest threats to children’s health and safety around the world. Learn how to respond quickly and appropriately to common causes of injury in babies and children.

Available in English

Tunisian Red Crescent volunteers practice performing CPR on a dummy as part of a first aid training course

First aid for adults

An introduction to the key concepts and first aid techniques to address emergency situations—including choking, burns, wounds and cardiac arrest.

Available in English

A volunteer with the Portuguese Red Cross provides first aid and psychosocial support to people affected by forest fires

First aid for older adults

As we age, the risk of accident and injury can increase. This course covers common emergencies in older people such as falls, heart attacks and strokes.

Available in English

World First Aid Day

Schoolchildren in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand are taught first aid as part of a disaster risk reduction project

Schoolchildren in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand are taught first aid as part of a disaster risk reduction project

Photo: Thai Red Cross Society

The second Saturday in September is World First Aid Day—an opportunity to raise global awareness about the importance of first aid.

Every year, the IFRC and our National Societies reach more than 50 million people with awareness activities promoting and celebrating the power of first aid.

Find out more on the IFRC Global First Aid Centre website.

Key documents


pdf (48.61 KB)

First aid policy

20/07/2017 | pdf (48.61 KB)

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pdf (2.17 MB)

International first aid and resuscitation guidelines 2016

17/06/2021 | pdf (2.17 MB)

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