YOU nominate

individuals or teams, plus tell your own story, whenever lifesaving skills are used:

WE recognize

the people you nominate with our national awards:

Certificate of Merit

For Red Cross trained individuals and off-duty Professional Responders

Signed by the President of the United States

Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders

    For Red Cross trained Professional Responders and Healthcare Professionals acting while on duty

Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action

    For individuals and teams who are not Red Cross trained

merit-certificate extraordinary-certificate

TOGETHER we inspire

others to learn important lifesaving skills by sharing real-life success stories like these:


  1. 1. How do I share a story or nominate someone for an award?

    Simply click here to complete and submit a simple online form. You'll be asked to provide basic information including the date and location of the incident, the lifesaving skills that were used and, if available, the 6-digit certificate code and course completion date for any award nominee who is Red Cross trained.

  2. 2. What happens after I submit an event description?

    You'll receive an email confirmation that your form was submitted, and a Red Cross representative will contact you for additional information. Depending on the nature of your submission, the information you share may be used to develop press releases, issue award certificates, conduct an award ceremony, and add to our national archive of inspiring stories.

  3. 3. How does the Red Cross national awards differ from local Heroes events?

    Our national awards are issued by American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. All nominees for our national awards will also be entered into the pool of nominations for their local chapter's annual American Red Cross Heroes event, such as the Breakfast of Champions.

  4. 4. Who can tell me more?

    If you have additional questions, please contact

Our Lifesaving Awards program:
  • Lets you nominate others for awards or share your own story whenever lifesaving skills are used
  • Helps inspire others to learn lifesaving skills by expanding our library of real-life success stories
Nominees are considered for three types of awards:



Certificate of Merit signed by the President of the United States

  • Red Cross Trained Individuals or Teams
  • Professional Responders including healthcare workers acting while off duty

Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders

  • Professional Responders including healthcare workers acting while on duty

Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action

  • Individuals or Teams who are not Red Cross Trained

A Rich History

  • In 1911, an anonymous donor contacted the National American Red Cross wishing to make a $5,000 donation to recognize first aid work rendered by railway men.
  • After acceptance of the money, a trust fund was established and named after then current President of the United States and the American Red Cross, the Honorable William Howard Taft.
  • The fund issued cash awards of up to $50 to recipients.
  • This practice continued until 1928 when the Certificate of Merit was established to provide a more fitting and lasting recognition to a larger circle of nominees.

A Presidential Connection

  • The Certificate of Merit is signed by the President of the United States, who traditionally serves as the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross.
  • From 1928 to the present, the Certificate of Merit has borne the signatures of 16 Presidents and has survived numerous revisions to the certificate award.


Become part of a network of people who can help during times of crisis. Check our newest class schedule, and get expert training online or in person.


Learn about onsite group training for a safer workplace