(BPT) - Emergencies strike without warning and when they do, they often make heroes of the people who respond to them, including thousands of young people. From dialing 911 when an emergency arises to administering the Heimlich maneuver on a friend who is choking, children are being taught to handle emergencies quickly and effectively.
While dialing 911 is easy to remember, learning the Heimlich maneuver takes practice. To help young people learn this life-saving skill, Heimlich Heroes, a Deaconess Initiative based in Cincinnati, Ohio, offers classes to teach young people how to perform the Heimlich maneuver in case of a choking emergency. Since 2013, the program has taught thousands of children how to recognize the signs of choking, understand how to properly administer the Heimlich maneuver and learn ways to prevent or minimize the risk of choking.
To help people everywhere recognize when a person may be choking and in need of the Heimlich maneuver, here are five things to look for from the experts at Heimlich Heroes.
* Trouble breathing. Because the item is clogging the airway, the victim will have trouble breathing. If you see a person is wheezing and struggling for breath, they may need the Heimlich.
* Weak cough. Coughing is a useful defense mechanism for clearing obstructions, but if the cough is weak, it means the airway is obstructed and the victim cannot gain sufficient air flow to cough effectively.
* Skin that appears blueish. When a person is choking, their skin will start to turn blue. This transformation first occurs around the lips, face and fingernails.
* Unable to speak. Despite their best urge to call for a help, a person who is choking will not be able to speak. If you see a person struggling to make words, yet they are unable to do so, they need your help.
* Noisy breathing and high-pitched sounds. These sounds are caused by air escaping through narrow passages around the blocking material.
The Heimlich Heroes program has been taught in 31 states across the country and has trained or registered nearly 20,000 young people to date. Heimlich Heroes even exceeded its 2015 year-end goal of training 8,000 young people. This training will potentially save thousands of lives, and one 11-year-old girl actually did save a life after completing the training program by administering the Heimlich maneuver on her sister, Gabriela, who was choking on an ice cube.
'We were so proud of Mariana, because she acted so quickly,' says Gabriela and Mariana's mother. 'We are thankful she learned the Heimlich maneuver, not long before this event happened.'
'We really want to make a difference in young people's lives,' says Terri Huntington, Heimlich Heroes program manager. 'Over 100,000 lives have been saved with this technique since its inception in 1974 by Dr. Henry Heimlich. Our goal is to train and educate as many people as we can.'
To learn more or find out how to bring Heimlich Heroes to your school or organization, visit www.heimlichheroes.com and click on the register now button.