How to Save Your Own Life

We’ve all heard the miracle stories: The Boy Scout who survived for four days in the mountains of North Carolina. The Montana couple who fought off a bear. The guy in Utah who cut off his arm to free himself from under a fallen boulder. You’ve probably read many stories like this in Reader’s Digest (like the one on page 102 about a couple stranded in the snow) and wondered what you’d do in the same situation, but you always assumed freak accidents would never happen to you.

And you’d be wrong. While your odds of having a heart attack are much higher than finding yourself in most of these scenarios, strange things happen every day. For example, almost 2.5 million people called poison centers for help in 2006. In 2004, 112,000 people died of injuries from falls, drownings, and other accidents. In 2006, search-and-rescue rangers in our national parks responded to nearly 4,000 calls, more than a third of them for people who were also sick or injured. Every year, around 3,000 succumb to choking.

Another 400 are struck by lightning, and 67 of those die from it. How do you keep yourself out of the statistics?

Besides calling 911, here’s what to do in 12 life-threatening emergencies when no one’s around to help.

1 2 3 4 5

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.