On this day in history


According to the BBC On this Day feature, the following events happened on August 12:

  • August 12, 1964: One of the men involved in the Great Train Robbery escaped from jail
  • August 12, 1969: English police used tear gas for the first time
  • August 12, 1985: A plane crashed in Japan, killing hundreds.

While these are all sad news items to bring up, I’d like to take this opportunity to add a happy anniversary to the list. For millions of people around the world who have lived or are currently living in a conflict zone, today is a special day. Today is the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.

As Katrina and I mentioned before (here and here), the Geneva Conventions have been helping to protect victims of war. They’ve even been ratified by all 194 countries in the world. Leading up to this anniversary, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Red Cross asked to hear your views on the challenges to the conventions in the next 60 years.

Do you want to see what people had to say?

>>Check out the responses we got on the Geneva Conventions at 60 site.

Laughter, Loos and Landmines


When my boss casually enquired whether I found sleeping under canvas a pleasant past time, I thought he might be beginning an informal chat about my holiday plans (we are a very friendly organisation after all) or perhaps opening a discussion around the potential affect that the credit crunch may have on the average British holiday. Little did I know that it was the start of some subtle probing to work out whether I would be able to cope with five thousand scouts, four peer educators and a portaloo.

Mystery object More

I have a question


What did you do today?

Felt the Monday blues? Enjoyed the sunshine? Had a day off?

A normal day.

Not for everyone. Every day, on average seven people die on our roads. Each year, 28,500 people are seriously injured and many of these casualties are children. roadsafetycrash

The British Red Cross is currently running a campaign called “Help a Mate”. The idea is for peer educators to teach young people in deprived areas how to deal with road traffic collisions. Next week, a team of peer educators (including me!) will be touring the south east visiting various youth and community groups.

Monday Movement update #18


Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Rescuers try to reach a man clinging to a pole surrounded by waterTyphoon Morakot: The Red Cross has been distributing relief goods to families who were displaced by Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan, the Philippines and China (pictured right). The low loss of life in China is largely thanks to early warning systems. See a photo gallery on the Guardian’s website.

Turks and Caicos boat sinks: Volunteers handed out food, water, clothes and comfort to around 115 Haitian migrants after their overcrowded boat sank just off the Turks and Caicos Islands last week.


The times they are a bein’ developed through a period of consultation


(Apologies: colossalism.)

It’s a time of change in our patch. Having resolved the volunteer crisis in medical loan and regrouted the Great Wall of China I can turn my attention to another minor task: developing a new service. Glasgow & Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire branches have been waiting patiently while our neighbours launch care in the home pilots but now the wait is over and the work begins. More

Roll up, roll up.. ask your first aid questions here


Woman, blindfoldedAre you in the dark when it comes to first aid?

What’s the best brand of plaster to use? How do I put on a sling? What’s CPR?

Have you got a first aid question, like one of those above? If so, now’s your opportunity to get it answered. As well as offering you some insight into the world of event first aid, first aid training and first aid in general, I’m keen to answer all your questions related to first aid.

So go on – ask away!

Knee deep in the …


temporary latrines - Zimbabwe cholera response… mire! Various other phrases jump to mind to describe the work our sanitation emergency response unit (ERU) do when called to a disaster somewhere in the world, but none seems to, er, stick like this one. The British Red Cross keeps on permanent standby several teams ready to apply their technical skills and this particular team of four have the crucial role of ensuring that disease, one of the potential killers following a large natural disaster, is kept under control through the provision of toilet facilities and education messages on personal hygiene practices.

I was outraged recently when one of my Aussie friends joked about the down under perception of Brits struggling to find the right end of the soap bar when it comes to personal hygiene! More