The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and, also, for the restoration of life by resuscitation.
Awards may be granted to those who have put their own lives at risk to save or attempt to save someone else. The awards granted for these acts of bravery include bronze, silver and gold medals and Testimonials on Vellum or Parchment.
The Society may also give recognition those who have contributed to the saving or attempted saving of life, though they may not have put their own life at risk. In these instances, a Certificate of Commendation may be granted.
In addition, Resuscitation Certificates may be granted to those who, though not professionally trained to do so, carry out a successful resuscitation.
Incidents that have taken place anywhere in the world are considered and anyone of any nationality can be nominated. However, a British person must have been involved in the incident as the rescuer, the rescued, the person resuscitated or the resuscitator. Citizens of other countries should address nominations to their own Humane Societies (see Links/Overseas bravery awards)
The Society was founded in London in 1774 by two eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan, who were keen to promote techniques of resuscitation. It became apparent that people were putting their own lives in danger rescuing others and awards were given in recognition of these acts of bravery. This remains the purpose of the society today.
Since its foundation the Royal Humane Society committee has reviewed over 86,000 cases and made around 200,000 awards.