As I've told many of my friends, last weekend my training hit home. This is not the first time I've had to call on my training to assist family members -- years ago I witnessed my grandmother have a heart attack -- but it was the first time something serious happened to one of my kids.
I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch with my wife and two sons on a beautiful end of summer weekend. Soon after our food arrived my eldest son, almost 6, looked straight ahead - eyes wide, tears rolling down, mouth wide open, silent. I immediately knew that he was choking on something. I came around the table in front of his chair and asked if he was ok. He didn't answer. Nothing. Just the wide eyes, tears and silence. Seconds later I'm behind him, using his chair as leverage, and administered abdominal thrusts. First one, nothing. With the second thrust his lunch reappeared. 1/3 of the hot dog, bun and all, came flying out. Relief. He was upset, but didn't cry. I wanted him to cry.
All of this happened in seconds. Nobody in the restaurant budged. Our server offered water. Thankfully my training was instinctual and immediate. In addition to teaching CPR and first aid I've been certified for the past 20 years.
Over the past week as friends heard about what happened they all say that they 'took the class a few years ago' and proceed to demonstrate how they think abdominal thrusts are performed. No offense to any of my friends who may be reading this-- None of of my layperson friends have been confident and most have been incorrect in hand positioning.
The point to my story: you need to practice these skills. You need to refresh your training. Online training is simply not sufficient. If its been two or more years since you were trained please Please PLEASE take a refresher course. With me or someone else. I'm not one to enjoy glory in helping someone in an emergency. But it scared the heck out of me that nobody stepped up to help. Lack of training, fear- I don't know.
Everyone should be trained. Everyone should step up to help. That's why I've always loved Emergency First Response's tag line: Creating Confidence to Care.