Two Red Cross volunteers gather on a picnic bench and are having a conversation.

Connecting prevention and safety communities to increase resiliency and promote educational efficiencies and implementation.


Safer communities start here.

Survival 2020 is Canada’s premiere conference promoting injury prevention strategies within communities using first aid and swimming and water safety education. This event, which is now being held virtually, connects community leaders, academics and prevention and safety trainers from around the world. This year’s conference will focus on increasing the rates of good health and survival across communities in Canada and around the world – this will include a number of sessions exploring how the global pandemic COVID-19 will impact lifesaving work like CPR resuscitation and Psychological First Aid.

Join us for the Survival 2020 virtual conference to learn about the evolving world of prevention and safety while building strategies for promoting safer living in your communities. The Canadian Red Cross has been protecting vulnerable communities and promoting safety since 1896, and is honoured to host virtual Survival 2020.

Get ready to join us October 5–7 2020!

Countdown until Survival 2020

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Two men appear on stage addressing the audience in a sit-down chat.

Cutting-edge thinkers

A tremendous lineup of speakers and exhibitors will explore the latest evidence-based science and strategies. This includes the launch of the International Red Cross First Aid & Resuscitation Guidelines, which outlines a learner-based approach, empowering participants to apply their first aid knowledge in real life scenarios.

A group of Red Cross volunteers dress in Red Cross clothing are standing casually in a group having a conversation.

Bringing it home

Learn how to support businesses, organizations and people within your community to create safer environments, reduce risk, and respond to emergencies. Attendees will learn to tailor prevention and safety practices to meet the needs of individual communities.

A group of Red Cross volunters work together to organize and sort word cards on a table.

From your home office

The virtual format of Survival 2020 means this conference is only a few clicks away, with both a reduced ticket price and lower time commitment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates and speakers can now join with no risk to their health.

A lifeguard holding a clipboard speaks to a young female swimmer.

Looking to the future

This conference will change the way you think about prevention and safety—you won’t want to miss it. An added bonus, conference delegates have access to all recorded sessions after the conference.


The knowledge you’ll take home with you

  • Assisting communities to identify and prepare for risks
  • Learning interventions that are meaningful and timely to support communities
  • How to create connections between people and communities
  • Growth and business development strategies for safety education
  • How leaders can influence change in communities to reduce injuries
  • Use of technology and innovations impacting local connections

Survival 2020 – At a glance

With a range of engaging and motivating sessions, you’ll learn a variety of education interventions that help build more resilient local communities.
Sessions and presentations will explore how this work can be carried forward in your own professional practice following the conference.

View full schedule >

Session Highlights Include

CPR and Drowning Resuscitation in the Era of COVID


Justin Sempsrott

In the current global context of the COVID-19 pandemic, lifeguards become essential frontline healthcare workers when faced with resuscitation. This session will discuss the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and how to stay safe during first aid and resuscitation, with an emphasis on drowning resuscitation and CPR.

Consulting, Interpreting and Using First Aid Research Evidence


Elke Weyenbergh

If you firmly believe that health decisions should be driven by robust scientific research, but you also find it alienating to sift through the dense language of the International Journal of First Aid Education, this session is for you. You will not only increase your ability to interpret the results of first aid research, you’ll also gain insight into the newly launched International Red Cross First Aid & Resuscitation Guidelines.

Fostering Partnerships with Indigenous Communities through Meaningful Engagement


Lesley-Anne Morley

Meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities is a big step forward on the path to reconciliation. Engagement is not a “one size fits all” endeavour. By capitalizing on local knowledge, expertise and vision, we empower communities to take ownership over project direction, prioritization and resource allocation. This session will consider how indigenous and non-indigenous communities can work together.

Meet our Speakers

An international cast of luminaries in their fields will be presenting on the Survival 2020 theme: Increasing community resiliency and survival through local implementation.

The speakers will explore the conference theme through thought provoking sessions designed to challenge how you think about the way you implement injury prevention, leadership strategies, and diversity and inclusion in your community.

View all speakers >

Portrait of Dr. Justin Sempsrott

Dr. Justin Sempsrott co-founded Lifeguards Without Borders and continues to serve as their executive director. He is the Medical Director of Starfish Aquatics Institute, Innovative Attraction Management, and the International Surf Lifesaving Association. Don’t miss his session on CPR and Drowning Resuscitation in the Era of COVID.

Portrait of Dr. Frank Pia-Francesco

Dr. Frank Pia-Francesco, a school psychologist, has a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies focusing on psychology, human factors and public health and has 21 years’ experience as a lifeguard, and chief lifeguard at Orchard Beach, Bronx, NY. And yes this is THE guy who invented the Pia Carry! Dr. Frank Pia’s is must-see session for anyone in aquatics.

Portrait of Dr. Jody Carrington

Dr. Jody Carrington is a child psychologist by trade, but she rarely treats kids. The answer lies, she believes, in the people who care for kids. Especially when kids have experienced trauma, that’s when they need big people the most. Some of her favourites include educators, parents, first responders, and foster parents.

Become a sponsor

Virtual Survival 2020 provides unique opportunities for sponsors to promote products, services, and publications.

  • Position your company as a leading supporter of first aid and swimming and water safety
  • Associate your brand with the Canadian Red Cross; a top brand in Canada and internationally
  • Introduce your products and services to your target market
  • Help grow your market presence and generate new customer leads
  • Link to your website from the conference website and other online marketing assets

Learn more about our sponsorship opportunities (PDF)  

Register here to become a sponsor

Azza Taha
Associate Director, Corporate Partnerships
Canadian Red Cross
T +1 416 970 8547

Angela Hart
Manager, Corporate Partnerships
Canadian Red Cross
T +1 343 540 8015

The verdict is in on our virtual conference format!

The virtual conference was both informative and interactive. I was completely impressed with the length of the sessions and the content that was provided. Such great “nuggets” of information from each well informed presenter. Well done Canadian Red Cross on the transition to the virtual platform!

Paula Thulin, Virtual Saskatchewan Manitoba Aquatics Conference (VSMAC)

VSMAC was excellent value and had many awesome ah ha moments! The presenters and conference organizers were engaging and a lot of fun! I can’t wait to join the upcoming international online conference! Did I mention that the conference box was fantastic? It blew me away, conference well done!

Shauna JacksonCrabb, Virtual Saskatchewan Manitoba Aquatics Conference (VSMAC)

The conference was a mixture of new knowledge learned, time to self-reflect and a great platform to learn from other experts in the aquatics field.  Being able to join from the comforts of my own home and not have to travel was a huge benefit as I most likely would not have been afforded the time to go otherwise.  Already looking forward to the next one!!

Karen Zaiden, Virtual Saskatchewan Manitoba Aquatics Conference (VSMAC)