The Science Behind Our Programs

  • Scientific Advisory Council

The Scientific Advisory Council

Behind every American Red Cross health and safety training program stands a team of experts ensuring what is taught is based on the latest and best in emergency science. Their guidance has an impact on everything, from course content to how to respond when disasters strike. This team’s expertise is the reason why individuals and businesses alike choose the Red Cross for their training needs. It’s also the reason why millions of Americans know how to plan and prepare for almost every emergency.

The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council is a 50+member panel of nationally-recognized medical, scientific, and academic experts dedicated to ensuring that the Red Cross is at the vanguard of best-science and best-practice.

With members from a broad range of professional specialties, the Council has an important advantage: a broad multidisciplinary expertise for evaluating new emergency response methods and techniques. And with on-the-ground experience, its members also bring the know-how for real-world emergencies. Whether it’s the best way to administer CPR to an unconscious co-worker or preparing your family and home for a hurricane, the Council is keeping you current.

The Subcouncils

Focusing on areas of expertise
Every recommendation to the Red Cross from the Scientific Advisory Council starts in one of five subcouncils where team specialists dig deep and share their findings. The subcouncils are:

Red Cross Aquatics Icon


Covering everything from water safety, swim instruction and life-guarding, this subcouncil is all about prevention of water emergencies, including rescue, resuscitation and transport.

CPR Icon


Studying cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking, and general resuscitation, this subcouncil also assesses defibrillation and the best use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

First Aid

First Aid

Studying the emergency medical care of victims before they get to a hospital, this subcouncil assesses the training of bystanders and professional emergency responders, whether they are administering aid on land, near water or in the wilderness.

Nursing and Care-Giving

Nursing and Care-Giving

The focus of this subcouncil is on the knowledge and skills necessary for health and safety when providing person-centered, culturally sensitive care to others.


Preparedness and Disaster Health

Covering the best ways to prepare for emergencies of every kind, from those that occur in the home to regional disasters, this subcouncil studies how to train people to be more resilient after hardship and how to keep communities whole and businesses operating. It also addresses how to give acute and chronic medical and mental care to disaster victims and the emergency staff caring for them.

How the Council Works

Taking notes at a meeting
Putting Science into Action
Making sure Red Cross programs and guidance are up-to-date and fine-tuned is serious business. When considering making a recommendation, the Council will perform rounds of rigorous scientific review using only the most reliable evidenced-based sources. The Council will then vote on whether to make a recommendation. If approved, recommendations are incorporated into Red Cross training and guidance.

Watch the Council

Keeping everyone informed and prepared
Bring the experts into your own home with this sampling of health and safety videos by Council members on the following subjects:
  • Disaster Safety
  • Weather Safety
  • Children’s Safety
  • Water Safety

Disaster Safety

Weather Safety

Children's Safety

Water Safety