British Red Cross welcomes London mayor’s vision of a city of lifesavers

A leading crisis response organisation has welcomed moves to ensure first aid training will play a key role in better preparing the people of London for emergencies including extreme weather and terror attacks.

The British Red Cross will work alongside City Hall, NHS England and local authorities to increase access to first aid training for Londoners after lifesaving skills were included as an important part of the Mayor for London’s new London City Resilience Strategy.

Members of the public are often first on the scene in the event of an emergency – commonly before the arrival of emergency services.

The better-equipped people are to respond, the greater the chances of lives being saved.

British Red Cross welcomes London mayor's vision of a city of lifesavers
Norman McKinley. The executive director of UK operations

British Red Cross executive director for UK operations Norman McKinley said:

“First aid skills save lives.

“Whether an emergency is large or small, ordinary people can make a crucial difference so long as they have the skills and confidence to help.

“We welcome the new London City Resilience Strategy and look forward to working with others to see what parts of London and which groups of people might benefit the most from first aid training and how we can reach them.

“The British Red Cross believes that everyone should know how to save a life and looks forward to helping turn London into a city of lifesavers.”

British Red Cross research shows that 44% of people in London believe they are likely to be affected by an emergency such as a flood, severe storm or terror attack.

As part of the development of the London City Resilience Strategy, the British Red Cross and Deputy Mayor for London Fiona Twycross held a workshop for people working in the voluntary and community sector.

At the session, people came together to discuss the key challenges facing London and what community-based organisations could do to help make the city more resilient.

The British Red Cross would now like to see a review of the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act so that the role of the community and voluntary sector during emergencies can be enshrined in law.

That way we can all work together to better identify what a particular community’s needs are during a crisis and tap into the knowledge, skills and resources of individuals and organisations within that community

British Red Cross welcomes London mayor's vision of a city of lifesavers
School children from Ark Oval Primary Academy school in South London participate in a first aid skills lesson outside the Houses of Parliament

Norman McKinley added:

“The voluntary and community sector has an important role to play in helping local people prepare for emergencies, responding to crises when they happen and supporting communities as they recover.

“Local authorities can miss opportunities to mobilise people where they live so we are encouraged to see City Hall looking to identify opportunities for collaboration that harness that potential.

“It’s crucial that the people affected by an emergency are at the heart of the community’s response to it.”

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