ellen_marguliesBy Ellen Margulies

There are certain situations you know to be unsafe: Having access to an ex-boyfriend’s number after a few glasses of wine. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Bcc’ing anyone on any email, ever.

But then there are those situations where you might find yourself having to be the savior. Would you know what to do if someone were choking? Would you recognize a child drowning (hint: This doesn’t resemble anything you’ve seen in cartoons). If a tornado devastated your community, would your family have an emergency plan?

These are unpleasant things to think about. They’re also necessary things to think about. Because while you may be lucky enough to be one of those “This could never happen to me” people when you watch the news, you may also someday be the only thing between chaos and safety. There’s not much we can do about the seeming randomness of life, death and disaster – but we can have a plan in place. And if you’re one of those “OMG, this could so easily have happened to me” people when you watch the news, this will actually make you feel a bit better.

June is not only a time to celebrate Flag Day, Father’s Day, Juneteenth and my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), it also happens to be Home Safety Awareness Month. And that agency we most often turn to for help in times of trouble, the American Red Cross, is stepping up so we can all feel a bit more prepared for life’s unfortunate emergencies. The Nashville chapter of the American Red Cross offers classes on first aid, CPR, water safety, emergency preparedness, caregiving and babysitting.

If it’s been a while since you earned your Girl Scout badge in any of these areas, it might be time for a brush-up. Things change, techniques are improved, and you can benefit from refresher courses in, let’s face it, everything. While you might think a box of Smores Pop-Tarts and a lengthy playlist on your iPod is sufficient during a severe thunderstorm, the Red Cross begs to differ. If you think you could handle administering CPR  in an emergency because you’ve seen every episode of ER — twice — and you also watch Lifetime movies, you might be surprised to learn that medical experts no longer want you doing the double-handed chest compressions.

You might never have Henry Cavill’s abs or wear an “S” on your chest – sorry, I mean peace sign from an alien planet – but you can arm yourself to be your own hero the next time there’s an emergency.

Give yourself and your loved ones as well as random strangers a reason to feel safer. Find out more about the Red Cross classes at  www.redcross.org/tn/Nashville.