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Grandson Saves Choking Grandfather


When twelve-year-old Landon Tucker took American Red Cross training in First Aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), little did he know he would use that training to help his grandfather when he choked while eating breakfast.

Carl McGowan and his grandson were home alone recently, enjoying breakfast, when a piece of sausage became lodged in McGowan’s throat. His wife Martha and a neighbor, who happens to be a paramedic, were both at work.

McGowan knew his grandson had taken the Red Cross classes at school, and asked Tucker if he knew what to do. Tucker said he had been trained, but had never actually performed the skills on anyone.

“I told him now would be a good time to try it,” Carl said. “He was scared. He tried to help me and was successful after several tries.”

McGowan credits Tucker with saving his life and is thankful his grandson had access to Red Cross training. “Being trained is very important,” Carl said. “Landon saved me. I want to thank him for everything he did.”

The Red Cross has information available for download on how to help someone - adult, child or infant - who is choking, and how to perform back blows and abdominal thrusts.

The Red Cross also offers classes in First Aid, CPR and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), and recommends that at least one person in every household be trained. People can also take Red Cross babysitter and lifeguard training, learn how to swim, take training on first aid for use in wilderness and remote settings, sports safety training, even first aid for pets. Classes are available for individuals as well as for businesses and organizations.

According to a Red Cross survey, many have witnessed someone choking. One person in ten surveyed reported they needed help themselves because they had choked on something. Most often, 57 percent of the time, a family member came to their aid, while in 30 percent of the instances the people had to help themselves. The survey also revealed that most choking incidents occur at home, with a high percentage also occurring in a restaurant.

This year there’s still plenty of time to resolve to protect yourself and your loved ones by taking a Red Cross class. Landon Tucker and his grandfather understand the importance of First Aid training firsthand and now know what to do when an emergency occurs.