Voluntarily engaged for 125 years
The “Swiss Samaritan Federation” (SSB) is the largest volunteer organisation in life-saving, health care and social welfare services in Switzerland and with its first-aid stations is always present at countless events. The organisation ensures that victims of accidents and sick people receive first aid and support quickly and competently everywhere in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. It closes gaps in the net of social institutions with spontaneous or supplementary support and medical care.
This year the SSB will be celebrating its 125-year anniversary. The roots of the Samaritans stem from the army’s medical corps. In 1885, the then president of the Military Medics Association Bern, Sergeant Ernst Möckli, founded the first Samaritan Association. In 1888 the 14 Samaritan Associations then existing joined forces to form the “Swiss Samaritan Federation”. Right from the start it worked closely together with the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) and is now recognised as the SRC’s rescue organisation.
Today about 30,000 Samaritans are active in Switzerland in 1,115 local Samaritan Associations. They organise courses for the general public, support the Medics Service at events and arrange for volunteers at medical and social institutions. They work together closely with rescue services and local authorities and organise local blood drives.
The figures that describe the SSB are impressive: in 2011 88,000 individuals took part in the training courses offered. About 360,000 hours have been performed in the paramedic service and in community service. 1,400 blood drives were conducted with the involvement of the Samaritans. The Samaritan Federation places a high priority on youth work. “Help” is its own organisation for youths. Currently 3,000 children and young people are involved in 122 Help groups across Switzerland, where they familiarise themselves with helping their fellow human beings, working as volunteers and the Red Cross principles.