World First Aid Day: Safe + Sound with the Canadian Red Cross

By: Gurpreet Somal, Senior Communications Advisor, Canadian Red Cross
When Gill McCulloch’s son was five-years old, he nearly died while choking on a candy. “It was the most frightening moment of my life when he stopped breathing!”

That day, Gill was able to save her son’s life, thanks to her training with the Canadian Red Cross.

First aid can help someone in need and can save lives. Observed every year and led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World First Aid Day promotes awareness about the importance of first aid.

For more than 70 years, the Canadian Red Cross has empowered Canadians through First Aid education. This training is delivered both directly and through Training Partners. The Red Cross free First Aid app also places life-saving advice in the hands of every Canadian. In British Columbia, one such Training Partner is Safe + Sound First Aid Training, which consistently provides Red Cross certified first aid and CPR training.

More than two decades later, Gill McCulloch, the Owner/Director for Safe + Sound First Aid Training, continues to call this collaboration one of her best decisions to date.

From Student to Red Cross Training Partner
Growing up in a family with a history in medicine, Gill enjoyed being trained in basic first aid and CPR for her role as a fitness director in England. Later in Canada, during her first pregnancy, she wanted to learn CPR for babies. A decision that was cemented when the babies of three of her friends had choking incidents.

Soon afterwards, in 1999, a class with the Canadian Red Cross inspired her to become a certified First Aid Instructor. This led to the foundation of Safe + Sound First Aid Training, where she was later joined by her husband Warren.

“I was extremely nervous the first time I was called to teach CPR for babies to a group of new mums! But the applause at the end of the class gave me great confidence. The host was so sweet and thoughtful. She even made Red Cross themed cupcakes for us!”

From new mothers and young children, to corporations, her team has taught them all.
The Red Cross Connection: A Tale of Three Generations

A few years into her training work, Gill’s mother handed her a box with medals and other items. This revealed a family legacy.
Connection to the Red Cross
In 1918, after being severely wounded and blinded in the trenches during World War I, her British grandfather recovered in a Red Cross hospital. During World War II, the Red Cross awarded her Dutch grandfather for his contributions to the Dutch resistance across occupied Holland.

“I was shocked! Our connection with the Red Cross, almost a century later, feels destined!”

This year, Gill’s daughter Chris has become a Red Cross Youth Leader and recently conducted her first Babysitting course. She beams with pride, “That’s three generations with the Red Cross now, carrying this legacy forward!”


Moving with the times
From offering free Babysitting training to refugees in Canada, to managing Red Cross training contracts with more than 30 organizations, Safe + Sound continues to serve the community.

First Aid training during pandemic yearsWhen no in-person training was possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross supported Safe + Sound’s ability to provide Youth First Aid courses virtually and to offer some first aid & CPR courses in a blended format, combining online training with in-person delivery.  
Gill believes every form of First Aid can be valuable for helping when needed, “the Red Cross Psychological First Aid course reduces stigma around coping with stress, loss and grief, while the Opioid Harm Reduction initiative is changing the conversation around opioid poisoning.”
“Through the ages, the impact of the Red Cross as an international, well-respected humanitarian organization continues to grow,” she remarks.

Worth It All
Safe + Sound Receiving Red Cross Partners in Humanity Award in 2011
Over the years, her team has heard back from clients whose lives have changed – while some saved a life, others got a big boost in their self-confidence. In 2011, Safe + Sound became the first Red Cross agency to receive the ‘Partners in Humanity Award’. Since 1999, Safe + Sound First Aid Training has offered Red Cross training to more than 50,000 students of all ages and backgrounds.


“It’s an honour collaborating with the Red Cross. First aid education is a lifelong process, and can be learned at any age. At the end of the day, even one life saved is worth it. You never know whose life you might save. It could be a loved one or the life of a stranger you’re yet to meet!”

Are you inspired to learn First Aid and CPR? Visit to find training in your area.
Register for a virtual, 30-minute learning session on September 10. 
  • Fall Prevention for Older Adults and their Caregivers provides learners with tips to help an individual reduce their risk of falls through the four pillars of fall prevention: vision, home safety, medication use and exercise.
  • First Aid Tips for Families is a fun, engaging session that will test participants' first aid knowledge and provide helpful tips and safe practices to incorporate into daily life.
Click here to register for your preferred session time. Space is limited. 

Related stories:
Working together to save a life: how a work team switched gears in a first aid emergency 
Transit trio apply critical first aid skills to save a life

What to do when a child is choking

See your impact in action.

Sign up to receive impact updates from the Canadian Red Cross, inspirational stories from the field and be the first to hear about emergency relief efforts.

The Canadian Red Cross takes your privacy seriously. We do not distribute or sell your email address to anyone. View our privacy policy.

Blog Archives