When help can’t wait will you be ready?

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – More than 5,000 people die from choking each year. Locally, a young boy was saved by troopers who were nearby and able to perform abdominal thrusts to save him.

The maneuver is widely known, but many don’t know how to do it.

Kristen Gallagher, Red Cross disaster program specialist, said training for lifesaving measures should be required in many facilities and businesses.

“I think it is important that any establishment has someone on scene that is always trained and ready to help if that is needed,” Gallagher said.

Out of the 700,000 people that live in the Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross, only 12,000 are CPR and First Aid certified – that’s less than two percent of all residents in the Valley.

“It is very important for people to be certified. You never know when you are going to be put in that situation where someone needs your help,” Gallagher said.

According to Health Research Funding, 65 percent of all choking deaths are infants. Ninety percent of deaths from foreign objects are children five years old and younger.

Gallagher said the best outcomes are when trained people act immediately during those emergency situations.

The Red Cross holds classes every week, and there is some training online.

“Once you are put in the situation, you are looking back saying I wish I could have helped. It’s important that people have training because they may be that one that is needed at that time when help can’t wait,” Gallagher said.