Tuesday, January 6, 2004
What Would You Do: Saving Yourself From Choking
Half a minute could be the difference between life and death. That's about how long you have to save yourself if you're alone -- and choking. So What Would You Do if you can't breath and you can't get help? Here are a few pointers.
(WSVN) -- In the movies it's funny.
Someone starts choking.
Someone rushes to their aid...
And a big chunck of something ends up on another person's plate.
In real life ... choking is a life or death situation.
Bill Azzinaro of the Miami Beach Fire Deptartment says, "Time is critical."
But what would you do if you're home alone and you started choking?
"It's hard to keep a clear head when you do this, but you can self heimlich," says Azzinaro.
First let's back up and learn the basics: You need to know you are not choking unless your airway is completely blocked.
"You're able to move air if you can cough," says Azzinaro. "You're able to breathe if you can cough ... and you're able to breath if you can talk ... that's exhaling."
And performing the heimlich maneuver when someone can still breath or cough or talk could do further damage.
If someone really is choking here's what you do. . .
You come around ... You feel for the belly button because you can't see. You're going to make a fist ... And the thrust is going to be very sharp. It's going to be inward and upward.
But if no one is around to help ... You have to help yourself ... And fast.
"Usually," says Azzinaro, "it's about 15 to 30 seconds before you pass out."
If you pass out ... You're dead.
So, remember, what you've learned and perform the heimlich maneuver on yourself.Just like you were helping someone else .... place your hand on your stomach right above your belly button ... Thrust inward and upward ... Repeatedly if you have to.
Fire fighters say as you perform the heimlich maneuver on yourself you should be heading for the phone. You can't talk, but you can dial 9-1-1.
"Any 9-1-1 dispatch center will read the address and send somebody," says Azzinaro.
And if you live in an apartment building… walk outside. At least if you collapse .. someone could see you and call for help.
Just keep in mind prevention is the best medicine ...
Take small bites ... chew your food thoroughly ... And don't try to eat and laugh at the same time.
Next week, what do you do if your car breaks down on a busy road?
We'll show you the proper steps to stay out of danger.
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