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This innovative app allows volunteer responders to help strangers in need.

Have dreams of being a real-life superhero? There's an app for that.

This innovative app allows volunteer responders to help strangers in need.

Jeff Olson was elbow-deep in a car engine when he heard his cellphone ping. He dropped everything and ran out the door.

The ping was an alert from an app he had on his phone called PulsePoint, which points Good Samaritans in the direction of a distress call. The app was developed by Richard Price, a retired fire chief who understands the importance of quick responses to a crisis.


Image courtesy of PulsePoint.

"It sounded like an Amber Alert, you know how they come out, and so I looked at it and it said CPR needed and it gave the address," Olson told KXLY, the ABC affiliate in Spokane, Washington.

The alert Olson received said a young boy had stopped breathing just a few blocks away.

Since Olson was trained in CPR, he knew he might be able to help. He sprinted over to the address PulsePoint gave him, where he found the boy — just an infant — unconscious.

His mother was panicking because the baby had started turning blue.

Image via KXLY/YouTube.

Olson had been a volunteer EMT for Deer Park Ambulance, but he'd never performed CPR on an infant before.

In that moment, however, he knew his skills were better than nothing, so he scooped the little boy up and attempted rescue breathing. His efforts ended up saving the baby's life.

Image via KXLY/YouTube.

Olson's heroic act was the first to be directly attributed to the PulsePoint app and is a prime example of how helpful apps like it could be to communities nationwide.

Since its inception, several other Good Samaritan apps have hit the market.

One, which appropriately enough is called the GoodSAM app, uses GPS technology to locate rescue and medical professionals in the area of an emergency. Another called First Aid by the American Red Cross gives easy-to-follow instructions on how to handle most common first aid emergencies.

PulsePoint is distinctive in that it gets nearby civilians on the scene before first responders so that they can take action more quickly if needed.

For now, PulsePoint only works in communities where it's been implemented by the local fire department and/or EMS agency.

The Seattle Fire Department just announced that it has adopted the app and is encouraging residents to download it.

It's helpful to have basic CPR training if you plan to use it, but if you don't, the app does have a handy interactive diagram, complete with compression rate metronome.

GIF via PulsePoint Foundation.

"CPR today is very easy to perform and can be learned quickly in informal settings such as community street fairs, group training sessions, take-home DVD-based courses and even by watching brief online videos," says Jan Sprake from the Medic One Foundation, who has been working with the app since its inception, though Sprake is careful to note that these training environments are not the same as being CPR certified.

It's unclear how the fire department and PulsePoint will handle liability issues for the app's users; generally it's best to let trained professionals handle medical emergencies. In situations where time is of the essence, however, an immediate though untrained response may still be superior to no response, at least until the first responders can arrive and take over.

The PulsePoint app was originally designed to assist victims of sudden cardiac arrest, which kills nearly 1,000 people each day.

Without immediate assistance, people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest — basically, severe heart attacks in which the heart stops immediately — have a slim chance of survival.

If CPR is administered within minutes of arrest, a person's odds of survival increase dramatically.

Image via PulsePoint.

How dramatically? According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients who received CPR from a bystander before medical help arrived were more than twice as likely to survive the incident than those who didn't.

Now, imagine there are 30 capable, volunteer responders within 10 blocks of the person suffering sudden cardiac arrest, all of whom have been alerted to the situation by PulsePoint or a similar app. That person's chances of survival just went through the roof, didn't it?

If every community implemented volunteer responder apps like this, SCA might no longer be a death sentence.

To get your local community on board, write your local fire chief, EMS office, and/or your local elected officials and tell them how crucial such apps could be in saving a life. There are plenty of potential real-life heroes like Jeff Olson in this country, they just need an app to tell them where to go.

Check out PulsePoint's instructional video here:


Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Courtesy of CAMFED/Eliza Powell
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Alice Saisha was raised in the Luapula Province of Zambia with 10 brothers and sisters. She always had big dreams for when she grew up. However, she almost didn't achieve them. "I nearly had to drop out of school because of poverty," she says. She also almost became a child bride to a much older man.

"If CAMFED did not step in, my story would have been different."

CAMFED is a pan-African movement revolutionizing and supporting girls' education — which is exactly what it did for Saisha. Not only did she finish school with their support, she also got her undergraduate degree in Sociology and her Master's degree in Development Studies. She's currently looking to get her Ph.D.

And she didn't stop there. "All of the knowledge I obtained was applied right in the community where I grew up," she explains. Saisha is a trainer and facilitator in leadership and enterprise, financial education and psychosocial counseling — and an activist, philanthropist and advocate of women's rights.

"We speak out for the voiceless, create leaders along the way, and amplify the importance of children's welfare in school and at home."

Today, Saisha is a CAMFED ambassador, using her education to benefit her community and make sure that other girls, just like her, find a way out of poverty through education. Her work creates a bridge between the young women, children, youths and all the existing opportunities, information, and aid they can access. She provides mentorship and financial aid to those in need. "I come up with innovative ways to reach out to other young women or girls through media, calls, and one-on-one or group meetings," she explains. "To share knowledge, use my experience and give room to lend a listening ear whenever need be."

"I am very passionate about seeing women progress in all areas of life."

Without a doubt, she says her life story helps drive her work, not only because it is the motivation behind what she does, but also because it helps her relate to the girls she supports. Saisha is currently supporting 11 orphans and vulnerable children by directly funding their education. She is also fostering two of the children. "[They] come from similar backgrounds," she says. "They were at the verge of dropping out due to early marriage." She met them during her volunteer work in district communities and noticed a reflection of her own experiences. "I instantly connected with them and I believed they had brighter futures."

"Seeing them transform is priceless, and hearing them dream big is so touching. Their achievements speak to it all."

Courtesy of CAMFED/Eliza Powell

Saisha is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to CAMFED — the very organization that helped get her where she is today.

"I want girls to be heard. It does not matter where they are in the world, what race they were born into or the type of background they came from," Saisha says. "Girls should be supported to escape unsafe environments. They need to always have a safe space which allows them to grow, and to nurture the great visions they possess."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less