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Put to the Test with High ‘Steaks’

You never think it will happen to you. Or your loved ones.

You always think it’s something that happens in films or you hear vaguely about it on the news. 

But when the unimaginable happens, having the training and preparation to know what to do is the difference between life and a very different outcome. When volunteering with Little LifeSavers, you teach children multiple lifesaving skills – one of which is what to do when someone is choking. 

One of our volunteers had to put their training to the test in a real-life scenario with none other than their partner in a busy pub. We hear their story first-hand and reflect on how differently it could have turned out…


When the ‘steaks’ are high

A few weeks ago my partner and I met with a group of friends for a meal in a noisy pub to celebrate the festive run-up to Christmas. 

Laughter flowed and the meal was well underway when a friend pointed to my partner. He shouted at me, to be heard amongst the busy pub-goers

“Has he looked like this before?” 

To my horror, there was my partner, chin down, silent and whilst his face was flushed, his lips were turning a threatening purple colour. He couldn’t speak or help himself. 


I shot to the end of the table and without thinking, leaned him forward and did a series of back slaps – just the way Little LifeSavers teaches and which ironically, I had taught to a school group that same day! 

Strangely, I remember thinking ‘just get on with the job. There’s every good chance this will work’.

I wasn’t scared until unfortunately that failed, and then reality kicked in. 

I looked into his eyes which were panic-stricken and told him I was going to try to help him with a series of abdominal thrusts. 

By now we had an audience. When the first thrust failed, my mind started to race. Suddenly key memories flashed through my mind.  

The first Heimlich (abdominal thrust) made no difference. As I desperately asked someone to call an ambulance, it was hard to make myself heard…

But then with one further thrust, I heard a guttural noise as an unchewed piece of steak shot across the table. 

Within minutes he was relieved, breathing normally and strangely no longer hungry!


Second nature skills save lives

Hearing true stories such as the above gives us the chills. It gives us confidence that teaching children such lifesaving skills not only helps them but also hammers home the importance of practising those skills so often that they become second nature. 

Had our volunteer not acted so quickly, their partner may not have had the same result. 

The volunteer’s message for those wondering what it is like to face such a scenario:

“The hard part is establishing someone has a completely blocked airway, but then your training will just take over.”

Training is the key to having the confidence to act and do something rather than nothing.

You too can learn how to save a loved one or a passerby when you become a Little LifeSavers volunteer – learn more here about volunteering. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary.

Or you can support us in reaching more schools for just the price of a coffee here

Stories like the above show it really can happen to anyone, at any time, anywhere. Preparing and letting your training kick in truly gives the best chance of a positive outcome. 

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