You live in a crazy, crazy world. And crazy bad things happen here all the time. But it's important to realize that through it all, you are not powerless -- and you especially have the power to help others.
Whether it's emotionally or physically, there are ways to prepare yourself for situations in which you could step in to help save a life. Taking action now could even help prevent such situations from happening in the first place.
Here are some very easy ways to start.
1. Donate blood.
You can save three lives donating blood just one time. Set up a drive at your school or office, and millions of potential recipients will thank you. The Red Cross needs all types, rare and otherwise.
2. Join the bone marrow registry.
Your unique body matter could be the cure for someone with blood cancer, an immune system disorder or many other sorts of disease. Do your research, join the registry, and prepare to be part of a miracle.
3. Make sure your building's elevator is ready for an emergency.
A recent study found that people on higher floors of buildings have lower chances of surviving cardiac arrest, as it takes responders longer to reach them. You can help by making an action plan for your home or office and providing quick elevator access when medical personnel arrive.
4. Learn the Heimlich.
This basic technique is easy to remember, yet you could easily end up in a crowded room where nobody knows it. Be the difference!
5. Make sure your office or school has a defibrillator onsite, and learn how to use it.
More than 700 deaths from coronary heart disease could be prevented every day if defibrillators were more widely available, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates. These electronic lifesaving devices aren't in every workplace: Talk with your building manager about getting one installed, and set up a system for teaching people to use it.
6. Actually listen during the flight safety instructions.
You never know when that pre-takeoff talk could save you and your fellow passengers.
7. Check the "organ donor" box at the DMV.
One person can save EIGHT LIVES with an organ transplant. Checking a box never felt so good.
8. Intervene for a friend who's talking about self harm.
If someone you know talks about hurting themselves -- whether in person or online -- be the one who takes action. Offer to help, alert others, and direct that friend to places where they can share their feelings. (Learn more about how to do this.)
9. Learn CPR.
These days, you can learn CPR in both classrooms and online: Check out the Red Cross' options to find a class that works for you. In the meantime, learn hands-only CPR right now, in this two-minute video. YES.
10. ... and if you know it already, get an app to help others.
PulsePoint alerts people with CPR training when there's an episode of cardiac arrest in their surrounding area, so they can go and help. That's a BIG deal in situations where a minute can mean the difference between life and death.
11. Be the anti-bully of your school.
It doesn't require special training to boost the campus mood: Your contribution could be as simple as holding a door open or sharing an emoji to let people know that mean comments aren't cool.
12. Take care of yourself.
"This is something we especially stress to firefighters, police officers, etc.," says Dr. Matt Levy, an emergency medicine expert at Johns Hopkins University. When you exercise, follow good nutrition habits and check in with a doctor regularly, you're at peak performance in order to help others. "These are preventative measures we can take to save lives, even our own," Levy says.
Well said, indeed.
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