It’s been a rough week or so, y’all. The Boston Marathon bombing, the Texas explosion, and an earthquake in China have simultaneously drained and strengthened our collective human resolve to push forward in the face of adversity. I have to show love to all of the trained personnel who responded to each of these tragedies, as well as the everyday folks that didn’t hesitate to offer aid when people needed it the most. One of the most striking images from the marathon bombing was that of Carlos Arredondo, known simply as the “man in the cowboy hat,” who was assisting a man whose legs were severely injured in the blast. While he may have gotten coaching from emergency personnel on the scene, would you know what to do to help stop someone’s bleeding? What about first aid for a heart attack, stroke, or choking? If not, here are a couple of tech tools that could just save a life.

The First Aid app from the Red Cross is an invaluable tool to give you the information you need to provide immediate first aid to someone in a crisis. The app provides step-by-step instructions, as well as short videos demonstrating some of the techniques. It also has a separate section to help you prepare for an emergency as well. Tips on what you need to do to get ready for an earthquake, fire, flooding, or other potential critical situations can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. In the case of any emergency situation you should seek professional medical intervention as soon as possible, but the immediate assistance you may be able to give someone could make all the difference.  The First Aid app is free and available for iPhone and Android.

Sometimes in an emergency, you only have seconds to try to alert someone to your situation. That’s where the Red Panic Button comes in. At the push of a button, this app will send a message of distress and your GPS location information to your predetermined email addresses and phone numbers. You can also alert your loved ones via Facebook and Twitter as well. This can be useful if you’re being attacked, or if you find yourself trapped in a situation where a building has collapsed. The Android version of the app will also record 10 seconds of audio before sending the message, which could be invaluable in a court setting if evidence of an attack is needed. If something goes down, you want to know that someone knows where you are, and for a few bucks this app gives you that peace of mind.

No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but gone are the days when you can sit comfortably by thinking “this could never happen to me.” Taking simple steps to be prepared can mean that you’re ready to jump in and help or that help can get to you in case of emergency.

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