In the US, state curriculums often mandate that students should study basic first aid. In Seattle, one in every three people is trained in first aid, while in Singapore it's one in every five.
But emergency response training and first aid skills have never been properly emphasized in China, and we are still striving to get the number of people trained in basic first aid up from 1 percent to 1.5 percent of the population. The huge gap here between China and developed countries is ill-matched with the demands of our social development.
Many studies show that if $1 is invested in disaster precautions, it can save $4 in losses. Senior disaster relief experts even hold that the ratio is 1:9.
Public skills in emergency relief, avoiding danger, and mutual aid are vital, especially in a country where distance, flawed health systems, and underdevelopment often mean that professional medical relief is unavailable any time sooner.
Preparing for disaster relief ahead of time saves money and lives. A little preparation goes a long way, and basic first aid training is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce the impact of disaster.
In addition, people should be mentally prepared for disaster, ready to respond, and know how to help themselves and others. Every person trained in these skills means one more chance for survival.
The author is director of the training center with the Red Cross Society of China. firstname.lastname@example.org